I’m so tired I can barely think straight, so I hope this make sense. But the reason I’m so tired is what I want to talk about. I spent today at my school’s fall blood drive. I usually just help with these events, but the person who normally supervises them is in Texas right now, having witnessed the debacle that was the WVU-TCU football game. So, with the help of a few folks that covered my classes and a couple others who came and worked when they could, I was the shepherd of the Student Council blood drive committee. It was a long but satisfying day.
It started with us getting tables and chairs and putting out refreshments to finish setting up the gym where the drive would take place. Much of that had been done by my good friend Michelle Swisher the night before. Michelle also covered most of my classes so I could work in the gym all day. Soon after, the Red Cross van arrived and the kids jumped in hauling boxes and crates with no prompting whatever. The Red Cross folks pointed out where to put things and the kids did all the heavy lifting without a cross word.
Once the drive started, donors were greeted by students who checked them in. Once each donation was complete, other students escorted donors from the donation area to the canteen, where they handed them off to still other volunteers who got them drinks and snacks and watched over them to make sure no one had any ill effects from giving blood. There were also people carrying the donated blood from the donor tables to the area where it was cataloged and stored.
Throughout the day, when something needed done, I was never short of more than one volunteer. They sought out custodians, delivered items to the office, fetched drinks–whatever needed done. And always with a smile.
At the end of the day, it was all done in reverse. Refill the truck, take the tables and chairs back, and clean up the canteen. And again, not a word of complaint from anyone. In fact, almost every single one of the students thanked me for helping them. Sometimes it’s easy to generalize and say today’s teenagers are self-absorbed, shallow brats. But anyone who says that just needs to come to one of these events and they’ll see it’s just not true. These kids make me confident that we’re not in as bad a shape as a lot of people think in this country.
So, to all you kids in the Parkersburg High School Student Council, here’s to you. I’m proud of you and I’m sure your other teachers are too.
Joe Stephens is a teacher at Parkersburg High School. He is also the author of Harsh Prey, Kisses and Lies, and the recently released In the Shadow, all of which are available in paperback and Kindle formats. The paperback may be purchased from Createspace, Amazon, and most online booksellers. In the real world, you may purchase from J & M Used Book Store in Parkersburg and from the author’s trunk.
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