Houston High Leadership Grant

HOUSTON, Ohio – Houston High is a small school with a big heart and a culture where caring for others comes first. Community Blood Center has awarded a $1,000 High School Leadership Grant to Houston for outstanding blood drive participation in the 2017-2018 school year.

CBC’s Kathy Pleiman presented the grant for “Second Highest Percentage of Enrollment Donating” to Principal Ryan Maier and Spanish Circle Club advisor Deanna Chappie at their Oct. 5 fall blood drive.

“It speaks volumes about the kids,” said Principal Maier. “They’re a caring group of kids who genuinely care for each other. We had a student with lymphoma who graduated last year. He was a track athlete and he made a full recovery. It had a direct impact on our kids’ hearts.”

With an enrollment of 372 students, Houston is one of the smallest of the 113 high schools in CBC’s 15-county region. Houston has hosted a spring blood drive, sponsored by the National Honor Society, since 2012. Last year it added a fall blood drive, sponsored by the Spanish Circle Club.

The fall and spring blood drives totaled 119 donors, 38 first-time donors and 91 donations. Houston High School was second only to Seton Catholic High School with 157 percent of its eligible students participating in the school’s two blood drives.

“I appreciate the work of Stephanie Merickel, our NHS advisor,” said Maier. “Her kids were able to start it, and the idea of going another time was brought up by Deanna Chappie, our Spanish Circle advisor. Great teachers, great families doing the right stuff – they genuinely care.”

It’s not the first CBC honor for Houston.  Class of 2016 graduate Maya Wills won a CBC/Vectren Lead The Way scholarship for her “Share Your Life… Share Your Blood” campaign. Her slogan and original artwork became the design for CBC’s high school blood drive t-shirt in the fall of 2016.

“We are a small school, but I like to think we’re pretty kind and we think of others,” said senior Mason Brewer who made his fourth lifetime donation at the fall blood drive. “It’s really different these days. A small school is like a small family.”

Mason’s dedication has had a ripple effect at Houston blood drives.  He encouraged both his sister Madalynn and his friend Michael Mayse to donate for the first time Friday.

“I was like really scared and didn’t want to do it,” said Madalynn. “But he said, ‘No you’re fine. You’re saving lives and it’s OK.’”

“He convinced me and I set my mind to it,” said Michael, a senior classmate of Mason’s. “The fact that’s it’s going to save people, that’s the main reason.”

“I donate because my grandfather had multiple surgeries,” Mason said. “I do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Friday’s fall blood drive totaled 51 donors, including 22 first-time donors and 43 donations for 108 percent of goal.

Madalynn Brewer