LIFE SCIENCES teacher April Sexton was trying to find a way to teach her pupils about blood, when the idea of holding a blood drive occurred to her.
She and her pupils and fellow teachers at Northwest Middle School organized the drive last year. They decided to repeat it this year after last year's success.
"My units have been switched around, so the kids haven't studied blood yet," Sexton explained. "But they will."
Sexton said last year she had to provide a list of people signed up before the Red Cross would conduct the drive. Because of all the work, she said then, it was unlikely she would organize a second drive.
"But once they came out and the drive was successful, they were willing to give me a date this year," she said.
That made planning easier. She decided to conduct the drive the first school day back after the holidays.
"The Red Cross tells me they are usually low on blood this time of year," she said.
Sexton, who has taught life sciences for nine years, said 55 people signed up, and, of that, more than 40 people donated more than 40 units of blood. Donors included teachers, staff and pupils' parents.
As part of the unit about blood, the Red Cross sent a representative to the school to talk about blood and blood drives.
"The lady who came out told us that in Maryland we really rely on other states for blood," Sexton said.
The events of Sept. 11 changed that initially, she added. People were lined up to give. But, with time, donations declined.
Sexton said about 25 percent of the teachers who signed up Jan. 2 had donated last year. One of those was Keli Jensen, Northwest's speech pathologist.
"I donate all the time," Jensen said. Her first time was as a senior in high school. She passed out the next day. But that didn't prevent her from donating again.
"I think that it's important that someone who is healthy to give blood to those who need it," she said. "I really want to encourage people to give blood."
Nine Northwest Middle School pupils are too young to donate blood but volunteered their time.
Elizabeth Penn-Wuorinen, 12, said she was volunteering to earn community service hours and because she wanted to help.
"I want to help the people who are dying who need blood," she said.
Elizabeth and fellow pupils gave orange juice to donors.
"You know, when each person donates a pint of blood, it saves from five to eight people," Elizabeth said.
Sexton said she and the staff were pleased with the number of units of blood collected.
"We were three short of our goal but collected eight more units than last year," she said.
Other pupils who helped are: George Barnhart, Katie Craig, Megan Haines, Ashley Heard, Katie Horner, Melissa Kidd, Ben Powel, Ashley Preis and Jack Woods.
Knights of Columbus Taneytown Council 11631 will hold a cranberry pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon Sunday at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church.
The menu will include cranberry pancakes with hot cranberry sauce, scrambled eggs, pudding and hominy. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 7 to 10 and children younger than age 6 eat free.
The church is at 44 Frederick St.
Car seat drive
Carroll County Health Department's Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) and local police departments are encouraging people to turn in old or unused child car seats. The seats may be taken to any local police department, including Taneytown, between Feb. 9 and 15.
People will receive a $5 gift certificate to Target.
Taneytown Lions Little League will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Taneytown Senior Center. Coaches, parents and volunteers should plan to attend.
The dates to sign up for tee-ball, baseball and girls softball are 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 25 and Feb. 1 at Northwest Middle School; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 26 and Feb. 2. Information: 410-857-3637.
Bull and oyster feed
American Legion Hesson-Snider Post 120 will hold a bull and oyster feed from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 9 at its hall in Taneytown. Beer and soda will be offered. The cost is $20.
Basket bingo error
Apologies to everyone, especially Union Bridge Fire Volunteer Company Inc.'s Ladies Auxiliary. I gave the wrong date for basket bingo. It was Saturday.
Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.