Students participate in winter blood drive

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On February 7, Townsend Harris High School held its first blood drive of the spring semester in partnership with The New York Blood Center. Students, faculty, families, and community members were all encouraged to schedule an appointment in the auditorium between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for the event. One blood donation can save three lives; with a total of 67 community members participating, the blood drive was able to potentially save about 201 lives.

Harrisites and staff expressed a commitment to helping out. Many cited the THHS ethos of service outlined in the Ephebic Oath, a pledge all Harrisites make once they integrate themselves into the school community. “In the spirit of the Ephebic Oath, this event allows us to partner with the New York Blood Center to make a positive impact on our community,” said Coordinator of Student Activities Nicole Gleizer.

“[Donating blood] is what the Ephebic Oath stands for: helping others and being a leader for great causes,” added junior and Student Leadership member Angelina McCabe. 

Student donors under 18 years old were mandated to complete a THHS and NY Blood Center permission slip, both to be signed by a parent or guardian. All donors had to be 16 years or older and weigh at least 110 pounds. Leading up to the event, Ms. Gleizer reminded all donors to “eat iron rich foods leading up to and following the drive for the healthiest donation possible.”

The school incentivized this opportunity by providing elevator passes, preparing snacks, and allowing participants to miss up to three bands on the day of the event. Many teachers also reminded students about the blood drive and encouraged them to donate. English teacher Katherine Lipinski made copies of necessary paperwork to distribute to students who were interested in participating. “I don’t think every person is able to participate, but for those who were, I wanted to make sure they knew about this opportunity,” Ms. Lipinski said. As one of the ways THHS students can serve the community, she said, “It’s needed. It’s necessary. It’s crucial.” 

Grade leaders and senators from each class were also given the responsibility to make short announcements regarding the blood drive and hand out paperwork for those interested prior to the start of each band. “I like that there were student recruiters trying to get more people involved,” Ms. Lipinski said. 

With the increasing blood shortage and obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are in critical need of blood donors. Senior Tracy Mou said, “This year, the blood drive is even more essential due to the decrease in the amount of blood available in hospitals.”

Excited to help out the community, junior Lucas Havens said of his participation in the blood drive, “I’m glad I did it. Definitely.”

Photo courtesy of Stephen Xing