Donate Blood, Save Lives

AP Biology Blood Drive makes a difference in our community.

Caty Franklin

The doors of Cokely Gym are wide open, early in the morning on Friday, February 7. AP Biology students mill around, directing the flow of students waiting to donate. Some students wait patiently, ready to donate, but some are nervously awaiting their turn.

It functions like a well-oiled machine, and the line moves quickly from check-in to waiting inside the gym, to sitting on one of the many medical chairs lined up in the gym.

The medical staff from the Community Blood Center are efficient. Once the donors have donated blood, they move to a station laid out with cookies and orange juice, and then are directed back to class.

This act of one student donating just one pint of blood can save up to three lives. In the Liberty community, the blood drive has become a necessity for the local hospitals to get the blood donations they need, this year donating 228 units of blood, according to AP Biology teacher, Aaron Hohn, who runs the blood drive for LHS.

“The Community Blood Center is at critical levels this year and they were at critically low levels last year as well,” Hohn said. “Anything we can do to help restock the blood that’s supplying all of the Northland hospitals in the area is going to benefit our area.”
Over the past five years, the blood drive has been receiving fewer and fewer donations, but Hohn and his students hope to turn the corner this year.

“The donors will be making a life-changing difference for the people who are in need of the blood,” senior Sydney Cannon said. “It gives everyone an opportunity to play a role in helping out people in need.”

The Community Blood Center works with Hohn to organize the drive. Most of the work at the high school, however, is performed by AP Biology students.

Juniors Bonnie Fordyce and Lauren Taylor sport matching AP Bio Blood Drive shirts. Photo by Emma McDonald.

“In preparation for the blood drive we hung posters and flyers all around the school, and we have a website to sign up adults and people from outside the school,” junior Blake Conkling said. “We set up tables at lunch to try and get people signed up during lunch. We also designed t-shirts that all the AP Bio students will wear during the drive.”

On the day of the drive, students have a bigger role, helping set up and guiding donors to and from class.

“The actual day of the drive, we have to be at school extremely early to set up, and then during the day most students will be escorting people to and from their classes to give blood and go back to class,” junior Abby Cole said.

Graphic by Jennavieve Carmony

The goal is to make the process as smooth as possible.

“Students arrive very early in the morning to unload a box truck full of all the equipment they’re going to use throughout the day, get
it into the gym,” Hohn said. “Then the CBC takes over and they actually set everything up so that they can function and then at the end of day we tear it all down for them and get it back on the truck.”

This drive not only plays a big role in the community, but also at LHS.

“It gives students an opportunity to see that a small gesture on their part can have a huge impact on somebody else’s life. It’s not the same thing as giving an organ, but it’s just as important as giving an organ,” Hohn said.

It gives AP Bio students the opportunity to do something meaningful.

“The blood drive is an exciting experience for AP Bio students to do something bigger than themselves and really be able to help out the community,” Conkling said. “It’s also a really exciting experience to be able to work alongside the Community Blood Center, which provides blood to over 500 people a day.”

Graphic by Jennavieve Carmony