High School Students Celebrated as Local Life Savers

June 7, 2019

John Hagins, President & CEO of The Community Blood Center with two scholarship recipients from Neenah High School at the high school’s awards ceremony. 

The Community Blood Center awards more than $20,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors and honors 205 students with the status of “Gallon Grad.”

The Community Blood Center (CBC), a local non-profit organization supplying life-saving blood and platelets to hospitals in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (U.P.), has awarded $23,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors and has granted 205 graduating seniors with the status of Gallon Grad.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the many accomplishments of our high school students,” shared Kristine Belanger, Vice President of Donor Services, CBC. “These students are the future of blood donation, ensuring our communities have the necessary blood supply to meet our hospital and patient demands. Their early commitment to donation and advocacy is truly a heroic act and we are honored to support them through the scholarship and Gallon Grad programs.”

The high school scholarship program provides an opportunity for CBC to support local students pursuing higher education. The scholarship application process asks students to create a project that will educate and inspire individuals on the importance of a lifelong commitment to blood donation. Twenty-three thousand dollars in scholarships were awarded to 35 students at 24 high schools in amounts of $500, $1,000 and $2,000. Student scholarship applications and projects are submitted to a committee at their high school for evaluation and selection. Kaukauna High School had four scholarship recipients, followed by Appleton West High School, with three.

Examples of scholarship work include brochures, personal essays, educational essays, a website, a blog entry, song lyrics and even a painting on a canvas. All work completed was to educate others on blood donation and to encourage the community to give.

This spring, CBC recognized 205 graduating high school students as Gallon Grads. These students provide inspiration to their classmates and communities on the importance of dedication and commitment to lifelong blood donation. This year, 35 area high schools had Gallon Grad recipients. Kaukauna High School had the most number of Gallon Grads, with 36 students being recognized.

The CBC Gallon Grad Program is a unique opportunity for high school students to impact their communities and be recognized for their commitment to blood donation. Throughout high school, a student completes requirements related to blood donation to earn their way to achieve Gallon Grad status. Students must complete two of the four options, which include: donating blood a minimum of three times, recruiting five new blood donors, volunteering at a blood drive or donor center for a minimum of five hours, or hosting their own blood drive. Students can complete the donate, recruit and volunteer options twice as a way to meet the total of the two requirements. While the majority do, students are not required to donate blood to earn Gallon Grad status. Students must be 17-years-old to donate blood, or can be 16-years-old with parent permission.

“What’s especially rewarding,” adds Belanger, “is watching these high school students encourage their classmates, teachers or parents to get involved. They are educating their family and friends on the importance of lifelong blood donation, and are inspiring others to take action.”

CBC awards the scholarships and Gallon Grad achievements annually in spring to graduating high school students. Information on the 2019-2020 high school scholarship and Gallon Grad programs will be available September 2019.

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