MILLTOWN, Del. – ​​​​​​​The Saint Mark’s High School Fall Semester Blood Drive booked an impressive 63 appointments on Thursday, November 9 thanks to the hard work of the National Honor Society Optimi Chapter of the Spartans.

“We just pushed it,” said Honor Society President Jake O’Donoghue, a senior at Saint Mark’s. “We have monthly meetings. We advertised it. We had some people make posters and help us advertise. The whole school was eager to help out for a great cause.”

“I’m not saying it was easy,” said Lily Beverung, secretary of the NHS at Saint Mark’s. “There was some pushing we had to do, but it’s been really great.”

Saint Mark’s High School senior Gavin Bowers is vice president of the National Honor Society Optimi Chapter. He donated blood for the first time on Thursday.

“I have this philosophy where if you are able to donate, you’re good to donate,” he said. “You keep making more blood. Some people really need it. If I was in surgery for something super critical and I didn’t have blood [transfusions] to save me, that would really suck.”

In addition, the fact that the Blood Bank of Delmarva lowered the minimum age to give blood to 16 opened up to a new pool of people, Jake said. 

To his point, Saint Mark’s High School juniors Angel Rizzo, Anna Lovett, Ava Spence and Mackenzie Fanning donated for the first time as 16-year-olds.

But they were not the only first-time blood donors. We were also glad to see Saint Mark’s seniors Chad Dohl, 18, and Natalie Davis and juniors Riley Fanjoy and Rachel Simione, 17 all donated blood for the first time.

The blood drive also attracted faculty and staff, including Director of Strategic Communications Maureen “Mo” Tyree and anatomy teacher Brian Venti.

“I tell me kids, you’ve got to give blood,” Mo said. “I blame my parents. They always said, you’re blessed with a healthy body. You need to use it to do good for others. It’s a very small way that we can help everybody.”

This blood drive also traditionally draws in parents to donate, including Jacke’s mom, Catie O’Donoghue.

“I hadn’t donate since before I got married,” she said. “They had in the system under my maiden name!”

All in all, the Spartans have a long tradition of blood drives where students, faculty and parents roll up their sleeves to donate and save lives. They did not disappoint on Thursday, as usual.

And give credit where credit is due. The first school to come back online for a blood drive after the pandemic hit was Saint Mark’s High School in 2021.

Director, Donor Resources Nicole Pineault and Director of Donor Recruitment Joanna Arat were impressed with the numbers at this drive coordinated by Account Manager Gia Rivera. Joanna wants us to spread the word about the addition of 16-year-olds, and she asked us to get coverage by The Dialog newspaper. We’ll be sending photos to the paper soon.

Thank you, Saint Mark’s Spartans, and thank you, Mobile Operations for all your hard work.