During the holidays, Havelock High students decided to give the most precious gift of all — the gift of life.
About 120 students participated in an American Red Cross blood drive held Friday at Havelock High’s Performing Arts Center.
Many of the students were giving blood for the first time, including sophomore Namontiana George.
“It hurt a little, but I feel just fine,” she said. “It’s kind of like getting your ear pierced.”
She held the hand of student volunteer Brooklynn Crosson as the Red Cross worker inserted the needle to starting drawing the blood.
“It’s a neat feeling,” Crosson told George. “It makes you feel good afterwards.”
George said she gave little thought to donating blood.
“Somebody can have some blood if they need it,” she said. “I just wanted to help somebody out and do something good in my life.”
Of course, some students didn’t even flinch when they donated blood.
“Shots don’t bother me,” said senior Nick Stillwell, who was donating blood for the third time.
He spent the 15 minutes of the procedure looking relaxed on a cot playing a game on his cell phone.
“You just have to ignore it and be distracted,” he said.
The student council at Havelock High sponsored the blood drive, but faculty representative John McLeod said the whole school participates.
“You’ve got all the teachers involved and the students,” he said. “It takes all kinds of folks.”
He admits that some student donors have alternative motives for giving blood.
“I know how teenagers are,” he said. “Some of them just want to get out of class.”
But, he said that motive may change once students give blood for the first time.
“The whole point is to expose them to donating so hopefully they will be life-long donors,” McLeod said. “This is the perfect place to give because there is somebody to take care of them, and when they go back to class there is somebody to watch them, but most of them are fine. There are very few negative reactions.”
He said getting the students to donate takes little effort.
“Most of them sign up on their own,” he said. “It’s not anything that we have to do to make a major push. We have some kids out there with some sign-up sheets, and we have a few teachers talk about it, but it just seems to happen. They just want to step forward, and it speaks well of them.”
Other blood drives in the area this month include from 1 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the St. James United Methodist Church Community Life Center on Orange Street in Newport and from 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Carmike Cinema 6 on McCotter Boulevard in Havelock.