Photo by Heather Middleton
By Mehgaan Jones
Students patiently waited to give blood, on Wednesday, in the media center at Jonesboro High School.
Stephanie Johnson, the school's principal, stressed to the young donors the importance of giving back to the community. "It is important for students to do community service," Johnson said. She added that it does not take a lot of commitment to donate blood.
"Usually around this time, you start to hear about crises throughout the country, and [during this time], the Red Cross is in need of blood," she said. Johnson explained that she grew up in Mobile, Ala., and experienced the crisis of hurricanes. "They [the Red Cross] always needed blood ... There were so many tragic incidences that required blood transfusions ...," she said.
The Health Occupation Students of America organization (HOSA) partnered with the American Red Cross to host the community blood drive, at Jonesboro High. HOSA is a group that gives aspiring health-care professionals preparation and insight into the medical field.
The blood drive took place from 8 a.m., to 2 p.m., in the school's media center. Jonesboro High is located at 7728 Mount Zion Boulevard.
According to Glenda Adams, the school's health-care science and education instructor, the blood drive is a part of the Red Ribbon Week observance, which is part of an anti-drug campaign in the Clayton County School System and other school systems around the nation.
"There are about 80 donors who signed up today," said Adams. She added that the donated blood will be used for the holiday season, and will be given to local hospitals.
According to a written statement from the American Red Cross, the Red Cross supplies blood products to 3,000 hospitals nationwide.
Eleventh-grader, Noah Holden, donated blood at Jonesboro High on Wednesday. "I plan on going to the Marines to help people, so I feel like I might as well start helping people now," he said.
Local residents, parents and school staff members were invited to the drive. "The community and parents can just drop-in, and they will be expedited to the front of the line," said Adams. Students had to register for the event prior to Wednesday. Adams said that students have to be 17 years of age and, at least, 110 pounds.
Jonesboro High freshman, Amber Usry, was unable to give blood because she is too young. She is a member of HOSA, however, and volunteered to help during the event. "I believe it is good to give blood, because people are in need," she said.
"Blood drives in high schools are very important," said Glenda Adams. "Babies and pediatric patients can only take blood from students." She added that adults have viruses, which teens do not have. Therefore, the blood of high school students is best for young children. Adams said that HOSA conducts a blood drive twice a year.
American Red Cross employee, Willie Dixon, said he thinks it is nice to help teach younger generations about saving lives, and Principal Stephanie Johnson added that, when students participate in community service, they feel valuable.
"The blood drive exemplifies standing together for a greater purpose," said Jonesboro High freshman, Aungelique Williams.