May 20, 2022

HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio - It was the final hour of the final high school blood drive of the year and Wayne High wasn't giving up.

"Blood is still needed at the area hospitals," the P.A. echoed through the halls and into the parking lot. "C'mon students! Come and help out."

The Thursday, May 19 blood drive at Wayne High was the last student-only blood drive of 2021-2022 for the Community Blood Center high school blood drive program. It closed out a year that began under the cloud of COVID-19 but finished much nearer to normal.

Wayne hosted the first of three blood drives on Sept. 23, 2021 and it was the biggest high school blood drive of the fall with nearly 100 donors. Wayne's January blood drive topped 100 donors and the May 19 blood drive rose to 129 donors, 109 donations and 49 first-time donors for 128% of collection goal.

For the year Wayne totaled 332 donors, 269 blood donations and 148 first time donors.

The National Honor Society sponsors all blood drives with co-advisors Rachel Waggoner and Jennifer Ostendors serving as co-coordinators.

"We've been nagging them all over the place," said Jennifer as the donor count reached 129 at Thursday's blood drive. "It hasn't been hard to get people to sign up. When we were remote, they had to drive to school to donate."

"More people are ready to get back to normal, kind of the way it was before," said Rachel.

Wayne cancelled one blood drive and hosted two others during the 2020-2021 COVID school year and totaled 133 donors.

"It's definitely because of worrying about getting sick," said NHS volunteer George Wijbrandus. "People lost some focus on donating blood and focused more on health issues."

Wayne was determined to host three blood drives this year. When conflicts with the state testing schedule meant cancelling the March blood drive, they rescheduled it for May 19, just a week before the final day of classes.

Rachel said returning to full days of in-person classes has been an adjustment for students. "They struggle with a lot of work and some apathy," she said. "We're getting back to where it was. Next year will be even better."

"For actual learning, you have to be in school," said first-time donor Matthew Kinsinger. "It's good to wake up to school because it's discipline you need for your career."

"I wanted to donate at the last blood drive in school, but I was in quarantine," said junior Trennan Lewis, who made his first donation Thursday. "I wanted to start new and continue next year and do all three for my Red Cord."

Students found inspiration in dedicating the blood drive in memory of Danny Miller, husband of school secretary Deborah Miller, who died in October.  The students signed a large poster at the blood drive to show their support.

"I'm thrilled that they were able to do that," said Deborah. "He used 10 units of blood when he went into cardiac arrest at the hospital. This meant a lot to me, and it is still needed."

World events have influenced senior Rabia Dzhafarova, who qualified for the Red Cord Honor Program by making her third lifetime donation Thursday. Rabia was born in Ukraine and came to the U.S. when she was one. She still has family in Russia.

"At first, we were in the COVID, but when I saw I how important it was I started to donate," said Rabia. "This made me feel like I was part of the community."

The Russian invasion of Ukraine made her feel helpless, but also inspired to act with compassion.

"I feel bad for the people there, it is not a place known for war," she said. "Giving blood is the first step to giving to the community. When you're older you can have more to do with the decision making."