RICHMOND, Indiana – Richmond’s Seton Catholic High School went back to school as a reigning champion of Community Blood Center’s high school blood drives. On Aug. 30 the Cardinals went back to work helping save lives by hosting the first CBC high school blood drive of the new school year.
Seton Catholic added to its blood drive legacy in 2017-2018 by winning the CBC $1,000 High School Leadership grant for “Highest Percentage of Enrollment Donating” for the third consecutive year. It marked Seton’s fifth grant award in the last four years.
CBC’s Melinda Frech presented the award to SCHS Principal John Markward during a morning assembly in the Cardinals gym. After the assembly, the volleyball nets went down and donor beds went up for the first of the four blood drives Seton Catholic will host this school year.
“We have about 80 students in ninth through 12th grade, and most of those kids donate every time,” said Principal Markward. He credited the Student Council, the sponsor group of the blood drives. “They’re the ones that get everyone signed up at lunch.”
Principal Markward is a regular donor at Seton’s blood drives “I think it’s fun to give back,” he said. “Back when I was 17 was the first time I did it and it’s something I still do.”
Faculty members are often the first to donate. “It’s something I’ve been doing for well over 20 years,” said IT Director Tim Elstro. Student Council members split time between checking in students, helping in the Donor Café, and donating.
“This is my second year running the blood drive and my sixth time giving,” said Student Council Vice President Trent Reichley. “I try to give as much as I can. Sometimes I have a basketball game that day, and it’s ‘Ah.’ But I like doing it.”
“For most people, once they do it once, they keep doing it,” said senior Sam Brenneke. “We’re a small school, so it’s word of mouth.”
Seton Catholic is one of the smallest of the 116 high schools hosting blood drives in CBC’s 15-county region, yet its dominance in the “Highest Percentage of Enrollment” category increases every year. In 2017-2018 participation was 195 percent of eligible enrollment. Seton won the same category in 2016-2018 with 175 percent, and in 2015-2016 with 152 percent.
Seton also won two grants in 2014-2015 for “Second Highest Percentage of Enrollment” and “Most Improved.” Seton Catholic shares the record of five grant awards with Fairmont High School and Butler Tech, two of the largest schools in CBC’s region.
“We like to give back to the community,” said junior Mary Hannah as she made her second lifetime donation. The small school with a big heart is now on its way to another big year. The first blood drive totaled 58 donors, including 11 first-time donors and 47 blood donations.