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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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What made the Blood Drive

Senior+Kylie+Secrest+volunteers+at+the+blood+drive+signup+table.The+table+provided+students+aged+16+and+up+with+information+about+the+drive+and+assisted+them+in+the+signup+process.+%E2%80%9CWe+decorated+the+stand+in+the+lunchroom+with+heart+related+or+red+decorations+from+either+Dollar+Tree+or+Five+Below%2C%E2%80%9D+Secrest+said.+%E2%80%9CThis+year+was+my+first+year+doing+%5Bthe+blood+drive%5D+and+it+was+fun.+I+got+to+be+able+to+meet+new+people+and+help+out+the+community.%E2%80%9D
Sakenah Lajkem
Senior Kylie Secrest volunteers at the blood drive signup table.The table provided students aged 16 and up with information about the drive and assisted them in the signup process. “We decorated the stand in the lunchroom with heart related or red decorations from either Dollar Tree or Five Below,” Secrest said. “This year was my first year doing [the blood drive] and it was fun. I got to be able to meet new people and help out the community.”

On Feb. 28,  Key Club and National Honors Society teamed up for the Parkway West blood drive. The two clubs spent months setting up and planning for the event, from making posters, to contacting Impact Life to getting volunteers to getting student and staff donors. But how did it all happen?

The planning process didn’t begin in February, but months prior, in Oct. 2023, when NHS and Key Club contacted Impact Life for this year’s blood drive, setting up a date where no other events overlapped and to book the North Gym for the day.Our biggest change [from previous years] has been the date — changing the drive from after spring break to before spring break,” English teacher and  Key Club co-sponsor Andria Benmuvhar said.

Before the drive, flyers were put up around the school to promote the blood drive. During lunch from Jan. 19 to Feb. 14, NHS and Key Club set up a stand in the cafeteria to help people sign up for the blood drive. “I wish it [was] promoted more because the reality is, less than 10% of the population donates and there is almost always a blood shortage. It could help your own family,” NHS co-sponsor Blair Hopkins said. “In my family, only my sister and I are O negative. My mom loves knowing that because O-[Negative] can only receive blood from another O-[Negative], and if either of us ever urgently needed blood, the other could donate. It wouldn’t matter if there was a blood shortage that day. Everyone should know their blood type — you just never know.” (Sakenah Lajkem)
The date was shifted to accommodate for students traveling over spring break. Had the drive been after, students who ventured out of the country would not be eligible. Furthermore, NHS and Key club didn’t want the drive to overlap with sports tryouts, testing or Special Olympics.

“The blood drive needs a lot of planning,” co-president of Key Club and senior Naira Ali said. “Luckily, the NHS and Key Club sponsors did a lot of coordinating to set up the blood drive, and I’m grateful to them for that. My role was to help out with recruitment and gather volunteers for the day of the blood drive, which took a couple of weeks.”

The blood drive had around 20-25 student volunteers who helped recruit donors. There were 85 slots open for students wanting to donate blood, not including staff members who will be going in and out throughout the day. Signup is easier said than done, however, according to the organizers; despite being able to donate blood without parent permission at 16 years of age, the school still requires parent signatures for their kids to donate.

“According to Impact Life and [other blood donation places] like Red Cross, if you are 16, you need parent permission, but if you’re 17 or older you do not. We want to make sure parents are aware that their child has signed up to give blood. We made it mandatory that everybody has that parent permission slip signed, which is probably the hardest part from my end,” Benmuvhar said.

Despite the new obstacle, many students were still able to donate and make a difference by giving one pint of blood, able to help three people who need it. Approximately 50 students signed up to donate in the North Gym from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. as volunteers helped with setting out snacks, and signing students in.

West’s National Honors Society and Key Club worked together this year to host the Parkway West Blood Drive on Feb. 28 in the north gym during the school day. The set up was a long process beginning in October. “The date change was the biggest change from last year. [Former English teacher Erin] . Fluchel ran the blood drive last year and left me all of her notes, so we’ve been following her process. Some of the things that I know we wanted to keep [were] the music playing in the gym, and the general spirit of the day,” Benmuvhar said. (Sakenah Lajkem)

“One thing I like about the blood drive is that so many people from our school come to help out the community, from volunteering to donating. I find it really important that we try to make a difference and help people suffering in the community,” Ali said.

NHS co-sponsor and French teacher Blair Hopkins both organized and donated on the day of the blood drive. Hopkins had been a regular blood donor since she was 14.

A quote from NHS co-sponsor and French teacher Blair Hopkins. (Sakenah Lajkem)

“It saves lives. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Usually it’s accident victims, burn victims, people battling cancer, people going through organ transplants or other surgery. They could be a baby or a 90-year-old. We probably all know a person who has needed at least one blood transfusion,” Hopkins said. “There’s no doubt donating makes a huge difference. I love that it is something almost everyone can do to help their community, regardless of who you are or what your skill set might be.”

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Sakenah Lajkem, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz. Who is your hero? Jesus Christ. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? My mom's mashed potatoes.
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