Students Prove to #BeTheKey to a Healthier Life, One Draw at a Time

Daniel Morrison, Copy Editor

   Only smiles could be seen on each face as they held up their dark red banners that read, “I saved 3 lives today, #BeTheKey today.” On Friday, September 23, 2022, Key Club members, officers, and various students around campus became the keys to a longer life by donating blood to those in need. Key Club was their locksmith.   

   Key Club did what they do best: giving back to the community. And what better way to do that than with a Blood Drive? “Blood Drive has been a Key Club tradition, not just for our school, but for all schools, and [we have] been doing it before I even started high school,” says senior and Key Club President, Trinity Tang. “One pint of blood saves approximately three lives,” she explains. “You know, blood doesn’t last forever, it expires, it goes bad, so we’re always in need of blood replenishment. I’ve always talked about, ‘Oh, you’re doing a good thing,’ but you are ACTUALLY doing a good thing; some people need blood transfusions, people [need blood] for cancer treatments, amputations—anything like that. So we’re doing something really good for the community.”

   Junior Lucas Porven was the first to give blood inside the River Of Grass. “I was anxious at first, and the cold room wasn’t helping, but then the assurance and comfort from the people that were working there made me feel very secure; they’re professionals, they knew what they were doing,” he says. “I’m donating blood to help those in need. So it goes to any type of sick person, like cancer [patients], people who are bleeding out—they told me that I was helping people within three days.” But he wasn’t the last to make an impact. 

   Key Club Secretary, Milagros Ortega, was equally uneasy since this was her first time donating blood, but her commitment to the community conquered that fear. “I was really nervous at first, but when I actually got up there, the guy who was going to draw my blood was making jokes about things, he was being really funny about the whole thing, so it made me ease up more. I was less nervous,” the junior says. “The whole experience was great. Knowing that I saved up to three lives and that my blood was going to someone who needs it makes me feel so good about doing it. It makes it so worth it.”

   Unfortunately, juniors made up the majority of the donors because freshmen, and most sophomores, aren’t 16 yetwhich is the minimum age to give blood with parental consent. Additionally, Friday was seniors’ unofficial Senior Skip Day, so the majority of them missed school. “We were relying heavily on the juniors,” Trinity says. “But the next Blood Drive will be December 16th—mark the date—when hopefully all the seniors will be back and more sophomores will be 16. So we’re hoping to set a new record for the amount of blood donations!” she exclaims enthusiastically.

   Though the turnout wasn’t as expected, “We’re seeing a lot of them step up,” Ms. Taylor says, referring to the juniors. “It’s a cool moment. It’s almost like their first adult thing that they are able to do. We don’t get a lot of choices with our own bodies until we’re like 18, so it’s kind of cool that, with their parents, they can make that informed decision to save a life while they’re still technically kids,” the sponsor commends. 

   Students will have two more opportunities this year to save a life since Key Club is hosting another Blood Drive on March 10th, following the one in December. And they plan to offer seniors scholarships for their contribution. “For any senior who donates, you’re eligible to win a scholarship (money amount we don’t know yet),” Trinity conveys. “The scholarship is a really big deal,” Mrs. Taylor adds, “so I want to walk away knowing that people donated blood and that they were eligible to receive something for it. People donate blood not expecting anything, so it would be cool for somebody to walk away with something.” 

   By walking away, Taylor suggests that this year may be her last, therefore she’s striving to relinquish Key Club on a solid foundation; through year-long volunteer activitiesBlood Drive being the first major oneshe hopes to not only stimulate further traction into the club, but to also leave a genuine and significant puncture on the school as a whole.“I just want to get as much done, I want it to become a regular thing,” Taylor envisions. “For a long time, we weren’t doing Blood Drives, there was no scholarship, there wasn’t a lot of parental involvement, so I’m trying to set the club up for as much success as possible. Key Club in general, unfortunately, gets passed around; a lot of teachers don’t like taking it on because Blood Drives are a lot of work and all the events—it’s very time consuming. So I’m trying to do as much as I can to make Key Club known, and especially known for the Blood Drives which are huge, huge, huge, community events.”

   As Trinity says, mark the date! “I would do it again, I would do it every month if I could,” Milagros says. “This is something that everybody should look into and, if they could donate, that they should try their best to.” Students unlocked the potential on Friday to give someone another chance at life while feeling good about their own. Will these same difference makersand moretake the next step too? Until the next Blood Drive.