April 17, 2020

DAYTON, Ohio - Five area high school seniors have each won $1,000 for college tuition in the 2020 Community Blood Center/Vectren, A CenterPoint Energy Company Lead The Way Scholarship competition. Their creative campaigns for inspiring classmates to donate blood include t-shirt designs, an inspired music video, and a unique donor blanket.

The group represents a continued legacy of scholarship winners from Chaminade Julienne, Arcanum, and Cedarville High Schools, and the first winner from Laurel Oaks Career Center.

Samuel Caruso, Oakwood High School: "Impact of Blood Drive in Dayton Community"

Oakwood High senior Samuel "Sammy" Caruso created a recruitment video to encourage students to donate at Oakwood's Dec. 5, 2019 blood drive.  Creative inspiration came from the popular HBO series "Game of Thrones." He borrowed the show's theme music and opening title sequence that scans a map of the Seven Kingdoms. Sammy's video maps the steps a blood donation follows from donor to patient.

A key inspiration for Sammy was his interview with chemistry teacher and blood donor Anthony Rainsberger, who talks about his wife receiving platelet transfusions after chemotherapy treatments.

"I made a video to put on the announcements at school that was to encourage and teach students the importance of donating blood and how it has impacted people personally," said Sammy.  "I donated blood for the first time following the making of this video because I was encouraged by all the people I talked to. I wanted other students to hear their stories and understand how a little bit can go a long way."

He plans to attend the University of Vermont.

Anna Winter, Cedarville High School: "People Live When People Give."

Cedarville High senior Anna Winter created a blood drive recruitment campaign with the slogan "People Live When People Give." Her marketing material design included a deep red t-shirt with the dictionary definition "give/verb - to freely devote, set aside, or sacrifice for a purpose" on the front and her slogan and a blood drop on the back.

"My blood recruitment campaign focuses mainly on what it really means to give to others," said Anna. "We know giving is good, but why should we do it? The idea of sacrificing for a purpose is something that really made me think about blood donation.

"Many people in our community, state and country are blessed beyond compare. We receive so much and rarely think to give back when donating blood is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways to do so! I hope you join me in understanding what it really means to give and find joy in sacrificing your free gift for a bigger purpose."

Anna plans to attend Cedarville University.

Annie Osborn, Laurel Oaks Career Center: "Wrapped in Compassion."

Laurel Oaks Career Center senior Annie Osborn called her campaign "Wrapped In Compassion" and designed a blanket or small towel as a donor gift. She illustrated it with a blood drop and the slogan "Blanket Someone in Love - Donate Blood."

"To most people, blankets and towels symbolize warmth, care, and providence," said Annie. "Blankets and towels comfort people when they are sick, and they provide reassurance in difficult times. This is similar to what blood donation does for others.

"When people put others before themselves, they exhibit those qualities of warmth and care. Blood donors show compassion to strangers. Blood donors humble themselves enough to provide for those in great need. Donations do save lives. So, my greatest hope is that people see this campaign and correspond blankets and towels to compassion. And then when they see the compassion shown to them, they will show compassion to others, specifically through blood donation. The Community Blood Center is about more than just donating blood. It's about being a Good Samaritan and giving the greatest gift: life."

Annie lives in Wilmington and plans to attend Liberty University.

John Huffman, Chaminade Julienne High School: "Be a Part of a Winning Team, Give Blood!"

Chaminade Julienne High senior John "Jack" Huffman chose a sports theme for his campaign "Be Part of a Winning Team, Give Blood."  It features a long-sleeve t-shirt with a team sports jersey design, including a large number "3" on the front for "3 Lives Save" and his slogan and the CBC blood drop on the back.

"My theme will inspire my classmates to donate blood because it targets what a lot of students love most and that is sports," said John.  The inspiration for the front of the sport is any sports jersey. Jerseys can be seen all around high schools whether professional or a student's team jersey. When developing this shirt, I focused on what would excite a student most and that is inclusion and the value of donating blood and that is knowing that you saved three lives through a donation that is portrayed prominently on the front of the shirt with the jersey number.

"I think this will also encourage my classmates because it makes them feel like they are part of a larger cause of difference-makers which is what this winning team is. I would be inspired to give based on the fact that I am saving three lives with the blood I give, and I am directly impacting my community and making a difference."

John comes from a family of blood donors. His dad State Sen. Steve Huffman is an ER physician and lifelong blood donor who introduced the legislation designating January as "Blood Donor Awareness Month" in Ohio.  John plans to attend the University of Notre Dame.

Kayla O'Daniel, Arcanum High School: "Have the Courage of a Cowboy, Donate Blood."

Arcanum High senior Kayla O'Daniel impressed the judges by having the courage to star in her own music video, "Have the Courage of a Cowboy, Donate Blood."  The music is inspired by the popular "Old Town Road." In her video Kayla jumps off a horse and sings her way through directions on how to donate, finishing with the lyric, "Come on and take your arm to the old blood bank, you can help a bunch of people when you donate."

"Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you," said Kayla. "Many people struggle with overcoming their fears, and I believe that my theme will inspire people to gain the courage they need to donate blood.

"A lot of times, people hear about the 'scary process' of donating blood and they shy away from doing it. However, the music video that I developed explains the process of donating blood and encourages people to take part in donating. As I say in my song, 'Let me ease your mind, you'll sit back, relax, and enjoy the recline.'

"My song explains how many people are in need, the difference that just one pint of blood makes, and I even add that you get a free snack after donating. 'Old Town Road' highlights the strength and courage that cowboys have, and my music video does the same. The catchy song that I created will ease the minds of potential blood donors and will inspire people to have the courage of a cowboy and donate blood."

Kayla plans to attend Wright State University.