HAMILTON, Ohio - Hamilton High School National Honor Society members got back from spring break and went back to work recruiting donors for their Thursday, April 13 spring blood drive with the goal of keeping Community Blood Center in good supply during the Easter holiday weekend.
"Our biggest challenge was spring break," said NHS Advisor Madeleine DeHoff, who is in her second year teaching AP Government and U.S. History teacher at Hamilton, and her first as blood drive coordinator. The spring blood drive came just a week after spring break and Easter weekend followed the blood drive with no school on Good Friday.
"In the fall, our recruiting went right up to the blood drive. This month our recruiting effort was a little lower because of the kids on vacation." She noted that NHS had just completed its "Pennies for Pasta" fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "There are lots of moving pieces in the spring, that's for sure!"
Despite the challenges of the spring calendar Thursday's blood drive had more donors than the fall blood drive with 123 registrations, including 55 first-time donors and 78 donations. Hamilton's fall and spring blood drives combined for 231 donors, 127 first-time donors and 161 donations for 101 percent of the collection goals.
NHS President Erika Stauble helped organize an experienced group of junior and senior volunteers. "We run both blood drives and the fall went really well," said Erika. "We do a lot about the blood drive on our 'Blue TV' newscast and at lunch we do announcements on a microphone. We get a lot of people from that."
Twin brothers Alvin and Kelvin Mantey are senior NHS volunteers who kept up a lively banter with their classmates in the Donor Café. They grew up in Ghana with their mother and an older pair of siblings (that are also twins) while their father worked in Ohio. He would send money home and visit when he could. The family was finally reunited in Hamilton just three years ago and the twins quickly acclimated to life at Hamilton High.
"I guess we're altruistic," said Alvin, who plans to study psychology next year at the University of Cincinnati. "We want to help others when we can. We don't get a lot of time in school. This is a little opportunity to make a difference in our own way."
Senior Taylor Lewis believes giving blood is an important way to make a difference. She made her third lifetime donation at Thursday's blood drive, qualifying for CBC's Red Cord Honor program recognition at graduation.
"It's giving back to the community," said Taylor, who is member of the NJROTC and plans to enter the Marine Corps next fall. "We can replenish the blood in our bodies. Some people can't. My grandfather had leukemia and needed transfusions. He passed away."
Junior Jackie Betancourt made her first donation at Thursday's blood drive, and admitted that she had to muster up the courage to support the cause. "It's saving lives, no matter how much that scares me," she said. "That's motivation, I guess!"