MIDDLETOWN, Del. – Donned in their professional scrubs, students from Appoquinimink, Middletown and Odessa high schools teamed up with Blood Bank of Delmarva to hold a successful blood drive the day before Valentine’s Day.

Students from Appoquinimink, Middletown and Odessa high schools smiling with blood drive snacks.

The annual Appoquinimink School District Blood Drive booked 45 appointments on Tuesday, February 13 at Volunteer Hose Company on Green Street. Since 2021, BBD Account Manager Mary Moore has worked with the Appoquinimink students and their faculty advisors to coordinate this blood drive through a Capstone project. 

A Capstone project is an academic endeavor students undertake in their last year of high school, similar to a term paper, in that they delve deeply into their subject, conduct research and use their critical thinking skills to come to an academic conclusion. Students were guided by work-based learning specialists at Appo High (Brian Johnson), Middletown High (Toni Hatch) and Odessa High School (Ann Terranova).

 This Capstone project was conducted by Appoquinimink, Middletown and Odessa High School students in the Allied Health and the Public and Community Health pathways. (Pathways prepare students for post-secondary success in college and career. 

“We’re excited about this,” Johnson said. “This is their Capstone project, and they’ve been having conversations and trying to identify the problems in this area. The students saw a general lack of blood donations.”

Appo High School seniors Christopher Bradshaw and Usra Saidi, among others, said students learned about the constant need for blood juxtaposed with the difficulty in getting people to donate in general. 

“A lot of people just don’t care until they need it,” Crawford said.

“There’s a lot of people who are in dire need of blood because of accidents, surgeries, cancer patients,” Saidi said. “It’s sad that not a lot of people know what a difference they could make by just donating.”

Odessa High School senior Kayla Kuma agreed.

Student blood donor and BBD staff member.

“It’s kind of hard to get people to donate, because they don’t how valuable it is,” Kuma said.

All things considered, the students did a good job of recruiting local residents, parents and peers to donate blood at a drive that met the goal. For instance, Appoquinimink High School senior Miles Crawford, 2024, 17, was recruited to donate by Kalyn Stone, one of the Capstone students.

Middletown High School senior Kathryn Young recruited her mother, Reading Middle School teacher Kelly Young, to donate blood. Kathryn’s friend, fellow MHS senior Eli Han was one of the Capstone students who organized the blood drive.

“I said, we could do it together. I would be so much fun,” Kathryn said.

It turned out that she was a day early to donate and had to wait, but her mother successfully donated after some time away from donating.

“It has been a very long time,” Kelly said.

Incidentally, here’s a fun fact about Eli, Kathryn’s friend. Eli’s mother, Ping Han, is a research scientist in the Translational Research and Development Lab based at BBD!

In addition to Middletown seniors Eli and Christopher, Odessa High School senior Kayla and Appo High School senior Usra, this year’s Appoquinimink Capstone Project students were Appoquinimink High School seniors Zach Jenkins, Lucia Cavaioli, Morgan Roundtree, Maya DaSilva and Kalyn Stone; and Middletown High School senior Jaliyah Ndario.