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Student donors max out blood drive at James Clemens

James Clemens High School has revived a Madison tradition while initiating a way for students to share the gift of life.

On Feb. 1, the Student Government Association conducted “the first blood drive for James Clemens and the first in over a decade in Madison City Schools,” SGA co-sponsor Melanie Turner said. American Red Cross held the drive in the school’s concourse.

“Red Cross set our goal at 30 units of blood. They don’t know our kids very well,” Turner said. After the first two days of registration, SGA students had filled all 30 appointments. “We literally had kids begging to be put on the waiting list.”

Even 16-year-olds, 14 total, met the challenge by having their parents sign required permission forms. Red Cross contact Sara Cochran scheduled more workers to accommodate 20 additional appointments.

“Originally, we planned to open the blood drive to students’ families, but student response was so great we didn’t have appointments left,” Turner said.

Last semester, Cochran contacted James Clemens nurse Deborah Shaner, who received administration approval for the drive. Turner and co-sponsor Madelene Marcus agreed for Cochran to speak to the SGA in January. “Her enthusiasm was contagious,” Turner said.

James Clemens students learned that school drives account for 30 percent of blood collected in Alabama.

During the drive, about 20 students worked as ‘runners’ for Red Cross workers and assisted donors in the canteen area afterwards. “About 40 SGA members had a significant impact on the blood drive’s success,” Turner said.

Turner describes James Clemens students as “service-minded with huge hearts. Building leaders is what James Clemens is all about. We don’t act like a ‘new’ school — we are family.”

“We’ll definitely do this again,” Turner said, “and let Red Cross know we need more workers for blood donations from a lot more of us.”

At James Clemens, Turner leads the math department and teaches standard and honors classes in algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus. She also sponsors Mu Alpha Theta.

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