Although officials from the Petal School District were unsure if Petal High School’s bi-annual blood drive would take place this fall, the event turned out better than they expected, collecting 78 units – six higher than their goal of 72.
The drive – which is coordinated by Health Science II students – was held recently at the high school in partnership with Vitalant. The event is aimed at providing leadership and organization experiences for students as well as helping Vitalant keep its stock full.
“It went very well under the circumstances,” Health Science II instructor Karla Hogan said. “We were worried about the outcome because of COVID, and worried about whether we’d be able to have it at one point.
“But our school district is very supportive, and they want to provide opportunities for our students. With the safety measures in place that Vitalant has, it actually was a very successful event. It’s always good when you meet your goal, but in the end, when we evaluated, we felt like it was a very good experience for our students, and for all those who donated also.”
In addition to high school students, teachers and community members also were encouraged to donate to the blood drive. Two students from each class were chosen to be coordinators and worked to assign various jobs throughout the drive: Abby Shows, Anna Beeson, Breanna Cooper and Kaitlyn Jones.
“They help get students to the blood drive when it’s their turn to donate, so it helps them with their organizational skills as well,” Career and Technical Education director Brooke Walter said. “Also, when the event is over, they walk through aspects of the event that went well, and aspects maybe they can improve on next time. It helps them with their problem-solving skills.”
Shows said she was both terrified and excited when she was asked to be one of the coordinators.
“I was scared of messing up, but at the same time I was happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of the experience,” she said.
Hogan said the blood drive wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the coordinators and the rest of the Health Science II students.
“They have something that they’re responsible for, and that really helps them in building those skills that they need when they get out in the workforce,” she said. “They’re able to look around and see a situation, and they know what to do. That was very beneficial.”
Hogan said the students were very supportive and eager to host the drive.
“They were very excited, because they were a little doubtful also that we were going to be able to have the drive under all the circumstances,” she said. “They were really excited when I told them we could have the drive, and then they were very eager to promote that drive and make it as good as possible.”
Officials are already looking forward to the next blood drive, which is expected to happen in February.
“I think serving the community is the biggest thing,” Hogan said. “It’s a community service for our students, and it promotes leadership skills in getting people to donate. We’ve had larger blood drives in the past, but under the circumstances I (think it was good).
“This was Vitalant’s first school drive they had done since COVID, so I think they were very pleased with our outcome. We’re one of the largest drives, typically, that they have, so they always look to Petal to be able to stock their shelves, because they’re really low on blood. They really need our drive to help boost their inventory.”