Academy Blood Drive Meets Goal Against Odds

COURTESY PHOTO

Paige Crosby gives blood at the Academy for the first time in 2002. She is accompanied by Eli Haskins, age 8.

When the St. Johnsbury Academy's March blood drive was delayed due to a blizzard, both the school and the American Red Cross were disappointed. The blood drive is a highlight for the school community as it is a chance for students, faculty, and staff to come together to fulfill a fundamental need. The Red Cross has come to depend on St. Johnsbury Academy as the top-producing school in Vermont. The March drive was rescheduled to May 23, conflicting with many regular donors' spring sports schedules. Expectations were low.

The results of the drive surprised everyone involved. Dave Carmichael of the American Red Cross expressed sentiments shared by all in an email to Paige Crosby:

"What a great blood drive you put on at the Academy on May 23rd! It was wonderful to get to spend the day with you all and to witness, firsthand, your fantastic works! A total of 138 productive units of blood were collected from the 137 people that presented to donate! That's not a typo. You actually had more Double Red Cell donations (14) than you had deferrals, etc., which, altogether, enabled your drive to achieve 99 percent of its 140-unit goal! Congratulations!"

He continued, "Also worth noting was the great turnout of first-time blood donors and 16-year-olds at your blood drive. You had 30 sixteen-year-olds give blood and a total of 42 first-time blood donors! Those are outstanding, if not surprising, results! We have come to expect the best from St. Johnsbury Academy over the years and, time after time, that's just what you have provided!"

Crosby, an Academy guidance counselor and blood drive coordinator, wrote in an email to faculty and staff after the drive, "I wanted to thank you all for the energy and support around today's blood drive. As you know this drive was delayed due to the March blizzard. We were a tad worried about our census due to spring sports. This school and community never cease to amaze us with their generosity and energy. Again, you came through ... We had a record number of first-time donors. The courage and commitment of our students and adults continues to astound us. As the Red Cross folks say, 'this place is like no other.' Our kids, their decorum, their kindness, and their commitment are moving. The relationship between kids and adults is seamless. As someone said to me today, 'this is one tight unit.'"

Notably, this blood drive was the last for Crosby as she will be retiring after the conclusion of the school year. Headmaster Tom Lovett said, "Paige has done a wonderful job in her service to the Red Cross, both in organizing the drive and encouraging students and staff to give blood. We will miss her many talents next year and wish her the very best in retirement."

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