William Kelley School’s National Honor Society is busy serving the community. On November 15th, they sponsored a blood drive with Memorial Blood Centers. The National Honor Society (NHS) members are Izzy Carey, Talon Williams, Alexa Harrison, Jake Stadler, and Katie Carpenter.
Michelle Ketola, advisor for the NHS, describes the group as “small but mighty.” All five students put in the work to make the blood drive successful, as they have done with their other projects this year: highway clean-up, community movie night, and working with North Shore Area Partners. They “communicate well with each other and [do] an amazing job of dividing up tasks. Their individual strengths complement each other and they all have great leadership potential.” Ketola goes on to say that the students need very little supervision, as they take pride in the work they do for the community. “These are busy young people,” Ketola says. Besides NHS, the members are active in athletics, band, and French club. They excel academically, including in PSEO courses. “It’s very impressive to see their time management and their willingness to get involved and make a difference. I’m very proud of them,” Ketola concludes. For herself, it’s her first year as the William Kelley National Honor Society Advisor. “Katie Fritz has run this organization like a well-oiled machine and was gracious enough to stay onboard to start this year and help the kids show me the ropes.”
NHS is hosting four blood drives in the 2023-24 school year, the first being in September. The next two drives will be January 24 and May 22, 2024.
Memorial Blood Centers recently did a training for NHS, and Michele Keil, Donor Recruitment, spoke about how they are focusing on encouraging younger people to donate blood. Keil explained that a large percentage of first-time donors are from high school blood drives. COVID-19 negatively affected the number of new donors, and now younger donors are wanted more than ever to give blood if they are able. “They are quite literally saving lives,” Ketola said. NHS is also working on growing the reach of the blood drive – ten more slots are hoped to be filled in January.
“We are so grateful for this community and all the support we get. We get a great mix of students, staff, and community members… and we need them all!” Ketola emphasizes.
Memorial Blood Centers does offer incentives for donating. Those who donated before November 18th were put in a drawing to win Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche tickets for November 24. The North Shore Adventure Park donated two free passes for the November 15th drive, and will offer two passes at each of the next two drives. “We really appreciate the support and hope it will encourage kids to give donating a try,” Ketola says. Students who wish to donate must be at least 16 years old, with a signed permission slip from their parents.
Less than 3% of the population provides blood to patients in need. Memorial Blood Centers are the sole supplier of blood products to 19 hospitals in northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. One donation can save the lives of up to three people, and a large percentage of blood donations are made through high school drives.
NHS member Katie Carpenter says that “hosting the blood drive is extremely rewarding. Knowing our NHS can bring our community together to donate blood and save lives is amazing. It is by far my favorite NHS project to run. It can be hard to fill up all time slots, but this time around it was very easy. Lots of students and community members wanted to donate, we even had a waitlist.”
Community members interested in donating in the January or May drives can sign up at these links: 1/24/24 Blood Drive: https://www.mbcherohub.club/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/71917 5/22/24 Blood Drive: https://www.mbcherohub.club/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/72228. They can also contact Michelle Ketola or any of the NHS members to set up an appointment.
“Donate today, save lives tomorrow.” – Memorial Blood Centers.