SWEETWATER COUNTY — Once again, students, staff, and community members showed their Tigers’ and Wolves’ pride by bleeding orange or green for their schools during the14th Annual High School Blood Drive Challenge.
The high school blood drive is a friendly rivalry between Rock Springs High School (RSHS) and Green River High School (GRHS). Through this friendly competition, both high schools work hard to try and collect as many blood donations as possible. The group that collects the most pints of blood wins. The totals are tallied by unbiased employees from Vitalant.
Each year, the totals seem to come closer and closer, so one never really knows who’s going to win the title and the trophy until it’s announced. This year’s winner will be announced during the Rock Springs vs. Green River basketball games on Thursday, February 3.
During RSHS’s student and faculty blood drive at the high school Wednesday, students were busy making sure everyone was getting where they needed to go. The library was filled with volunteers, blood donors, and the Vitalant employees.
RSHS student body president Rylan Keen said the blood drive went well and they had a pretty good turnout this year.
“It’s important because we are in need of blood right now,” Keen said in regards to the nation-wide blood shortage.
Not only did RSHS see a big turnout at the school blood drive, but during the community blood drive as well. According to Keen, they had such a good turnout at the community drive Monday that they had to reschedule some of those appointments to the student drive on Wednesday. The school also saw a lot of walk-in appointments as well.
As for student participation, Keen said the high school usually has a good turnout and this year’s was strong as well.
“I think the rivalry helps with it, but I also think they are doing it for the cause,” Keen said.
While the rivalry may have sparked some students to donate blood, others had more personal reasons as to why they donate.
RSHS Senior Liberty Jenkins has been donating blood for the last three years. She does it in honor of her best friend Stratton, who passed away. It was something he was passionate about and Jenkins honors his memory by continuing to donate blood, which is something she intends to do into adulthood.
For RSHS Senior Laci Lehmkuhl, this is her second time donating blood. “I do it for my sister because she passed away when I was younger,” she said.
First-time donor RSHS Senior Colton Carlsen said he felt like he needed to donate this year not only because it’s a good cause for the community, but for the rivalry.
“We want to beat Green River,” Carlsen said. “Go Tigers!”
The GRHS blood drive had a good turn out with students and staff coming in and out of the GRHS auditorium all day Thursday to do their part.
GRHS Student Body Activities Chair Alicia Harrison said the number of donors has been great this year. She believes the students, staff and community are excited to be able to help out with an important cause.
“We’ve had a super good turnout,” she said. “There’s a blood shortage and everyone wants to help save lives.”
GHRS Sophomore Abigail Fuss donated blood for the first time to contribute to the cause. Though her primary reason for donating was to save lives, specifically babies, the rivalry was also a big motivator.
“I’m donating to save babies and for the rivalry. Both, definitely,” she said.
Junior Colter Cudney said his reason for donating was “just to help people.” GRHS graduate Aubrey Jensen donated blood as well to help her former high school win the rivalry.
“I just think it’s important, especially now. There’s always a need for it and I think if you’re healthy enough, you should donate,” Jensen said. “And we have to take home that trophy.”
While the reasons behind the donation may vary, the outcome is the same; those who donate always walk away proudly knowing their donation can save a life.