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Crockett breaks the (blood) bank

Students at David Crockett High School beat a regional record last week, collecting more than 200 pints of blood for the American Red Cross during an in-school blood drive on Friday. By doing so, they defeated East Tennessee’s previous record of 190 pints, which was also set by the county high school.
“We’ve never not met our goal,” said Lori Grabner, a teacher at the school and drive leader. “I am the adult sponsor, but my students really run the whole drive.”
Crockett’s Health Occupations Students of America, or HOSA, sponsored last week’s blood drive, spending the day manning tables, signing people in and taking care of donors.
In the weeks leading up to the drive, many HOSA members spent time recruiting blood donors.
“We asked freshmen to find one person to donate, sophomores to find two people, juniors to find five and seniors to find 10,” Grabner said. “They didn’t all get that many, but they did pretty well.
“We’ve had a lot of parents and community people come and a lot of students.”
Crockett senior Kayla Sproles was among those recruited to donate blood last week.
“I’ve never given blood before,” said Sproles immediately after donating. “I’m glad I did, though, because it’s a way I can save somebody.”
Brandon Sumner, a junior at Crockett, said he always gives blood.
“This is my fifth time,” he said. “I do it to save lives.”
According to Gwen Hunter, a donor recruitment representative with the American Red Cross, the three annual blood drives at Crockett are extremely helpful to the organization and give a much-needed boost to the region’s blood supply.
“The American Red Cross is charged by Congress to provide blood to anyone who needs it at any time. To collect this much blood on any given day really ensures we’ll have it available,” Hunter said. “Plus, getting kids to give blood is really important. If they start donating at a young age, they tend to become lifelong donors.”
The drive at Crockett is the largest high school blood drive in the East Tennessee area, Hunter said.
“And it’s steadily growing, too,” she said. “A couple of years ago they were collecting 50 units. Now they’re over 200. These students really do a fantastic job.”