On Wednesday, April 28, Cathedral Prep held their first blood drive of the 2020-2021 school year. Seniors Nathan and Lucas Mitchell and Grant Nystrom and junior Michael Vereb were organizers for this year’s blood drive. NHS members helped by working the snack table and with sign-ups. As for the blood drive routine, it hadn’t changed too much from normal. The only changes were 6-foot social distancing between chairs, and masks for all involved, along with additional sanitization. However, this year there were some additional complications due to COVID and the construction work being done in the athletic wing.
Blood drives for most students have been a yearly occurrence, one in the fall/winter, and one later in the spring/summer. It has been a tradition for a long time at Prep as current NHS advisor, Mrs. Slaby, said that NHS has been organizing the blood drives ever since she started working. When she inherited the job of advisor, she wanted to continue following this model, organizing and holding the blood drive being one of the premier projects for NHS.
Students may recall previous mentioning of a blood drive earlier in the year. There had been multiple attempts to start up the blood drive; however, they had been cancelled. Originally, the plan was to have two blood drive days, one for Orange days, and one for Black days.
Grant Nystrom, an organizer says that there had just been complications between them and the Blood Bank and also a lack of interest from students. For one of the Blood Drive dates, there had been an issue with the boiler, in which school was virtual for students, which resulted in the cancellation of the blood drive. However, with all students being in person, NHS finally had the chance to give the Blood Drive another go, Grant said.
“They have their own standards they have to go through and we’ve been working with them and we finally got it done,” Grant said.
Participation was one of the issues faced by organizers and members early on. In past years the turnout had been consistent in terms of students and staff. In the beginning of the year, students were split into Orange and Black days, and they would have had to hold two blood drives for each day. This resulted in significantly less numbers. Mrs. Slaby says that it was also due to more and more students choosing all online for school. However, with all the students being in school now, it made sign-ups and the job itself a lot easier.
An added complication that occurred was smoke and debris seeping into the gym from the athletic wing. Currently, there is construction and demolition happening to the athletic wing for the new additions from the Prep-Villa merger. Early in the day, smoke was filling up the gym. Fortunately they were able to clear out and get air going through the gym to clear up the air.
The blood drives success was a step towards a more normal school year. Sophomore Anthony Frisina donated his blood this year for the first time.
“Last year I helped out a bit, so I’ve seen what it looks like,” he said. “It’s not too different.”
Overall, the blood drive collected 27 units from 32 people screened. Mrs. Slaby says the numbers have always been consistent, but there were a few more people this year. Another good mark of this year was the lack of deferrals. A hope for next year is to have two blood drives once again and to get more donors.