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SHS students have bloody good record

Alissa Widman Neese • Feb 26, 2014 at 6:40 PM

It’s no secret — Sandusky High School is out for blood.

Literally, of course.

For about 40 years, the school has hosted hugely successful bloodmobiles, consistently claiming the championship title for most pints of blood donated statewide.

Want to give blood?

•The next Sandusky High School bloodmobile is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 8 in the auxiliary gym. Anyone can donate.

 

Kerstyn Pou and Rhian Jones, senior bloodmobile coordinators, hope this year is no exception.

They completed their third bloodmobile of the year Feb. 14, tacking on 122 pints for a total of 436.

Last year, they collected 625 pints year-round. They’re shooting for a lofty 630 pints this year, donated from their teachers, classmates and community members who routinely attend the events.

“It’s a lot of work to get the word out and make it all happen, but when we find out we beat our goal for a blood drive, it’s always worth it” Pou said.

High school bloodmobiles account for about 20 percent of all blood donations collected in the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross, making Sandusky High School’s efforts extremely important, said Christy Sabaka, its communications manager.

“They’re saving lives, while also learning leadership skills and how to make their communities a better place, which is very important” Sabaka said.

Pou and Jones agreed — after all, helping others is the main reason they signed up for the cause as entry-level sophomore coordinators, they said.

“I’ve always enjoyed being involved with charities, and I wanted to be a leader at our school,” Jones said. “When you understand how much people appreciate what you’re doing, it’s inspiring. It really changes your perspective”

Longtime teacher Jeff Opelt has advised the bloodmobiles and its student coordinators since the mid-1980s.

An upcoming May 8 effort, however, will be Opelt’s last, as he’s retiring at the end of the school year.

Sandusky High School administrators haven’t yet determined who will replace Opelt, but he’s certain no matter his successor, he or she, as well as the school’s supportive staff and students, will continue the tradition with pride.

“It’s been a nice, long run, and I’m really proud of the students, and not just the coordinators, but anyone who comes out to donate, many for their first time, here at Sandusky High School,” Opelt said. “It’s really become part of our school culture, and we have a lot of fun and take pride in what it represents”

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