Summit Charter School students organize blood drive

The upper class at Summit Charter School took it upon themselves to organize a blood drive at their school on Jan. 11. The 14 freshmen that make up the inaugural 9th-grade class at Summit felt it was a good way to reach out to the community and help others.

“I thought it was a good idea because we’re helping the community and we’re saving lives,” said freshman Riley Stose. “It’s a new experience for a lot of us and I think it’s tremendous that the community is showing up and supporting us.”

From left are Summit Charter freshmen Zach Russell, Riley Stose, and Esmeralda Perez signing donors for the blood drive organized by students on January 11 at Summit Charter School.

Stose and freshmen Esmeralda Perez and Zach Russell managed the sign-in station during the drive. Perez said the students discussed the idea for a blood drive with their teachers and reached out to the Asheville Red Cross to set it up. The blood collected will be sent to Asheville and then distributed to hospitals throughout the area.

“I think they did a great job,” said Summit High School Principal Lauren Bennett. “They love community service in general and they recognize the intrinsic side of helping people.”

Freshman Riley Gordon volunteered during the drive and said there are not many areas you can give blood in the mountains. He said by hosting a blood drive at the school, it may make it easier for those who would like to donate but live too far away from regular donation sites.

“I think it’s a good way to give back to the community, and maybe people come and give blood because there’s no where else that’s closer,” said Gordon. “So, it’s less of a drive and you save a life.”

Pictured below are photos courtesy of Summit Charter School from the blood drive.

Freshman Win Dyleski said there are a lot of people in the area who support Summit Charter and he wanted to return the favor.

“It makes me feel good knowing that we’re helping out those in the community who have helped out our school,” said Dyleski. “It’s a way to give back.”

Red Cross Phlebotomist Christy Goosnell said she was using a special centrifuge that separates the red blood cells from the platelets and plasma to help the lab process the blood quicker and send it where it is needed.

“What these kids are doing is great,” said Goosnell. “A lot of people don’t realize the need for blood products. This helps educate people and hopefully we get some lifetime donors today.”

Claire Rice of Cullowhee stopped by to donate blood and said the students came up with a great idea.

“It’s one way you can help others and it doesn’t cost anything,” she said.

Russell said he enjoyed working on this project for the real-world experience.

“I think it’s a good opportunity,” he said. “We set this up and we’re managing it, it gives us professional experience by running this project.”

Summit Charter students have also volunteered at food banks and rescue shelters in Asheville as part of Summit’s Community Engagement program.

Pictured at the top of the article is Summit Charter Middle and High School Math Teacher, Brad Hughes, donating blood at the blood drive organized by the students.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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