May 9, 2019

DAYTON, Ohio - From t-shirt designs to video to a social media campaign, five area high school seniors found novel ways to inspire classmates to donate blood.  As a reward for their ingenuity each will receive a $1,000 Community Blood Center/Vectren Lead The Way Creative Scholarship.

The five winners in the 2019 Lead The Way Scholarship competition are: Katelynn Garber from Houston High School, Madison Hildebrand from Newton High School in Pleasant Hill, Lauren Dudgeon from Fairlawn High School in Sidney, Alexander Johnson from Northwestern High School near Springfield, and Ashlyn Coleman from Kettering Fairmont High School.

Two of this year's winners come from Shelby County, including a second scholarship awarded at Houston High.  It's the third consecutive year CBC and Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy Company have awarded a scholarship to a Newton High senior.  It's the first year to have winners from Northwestern, Fairlawn and Fairmont High Schools.

Lead The Way applicants were challenged to design a winning marketing campaign for a high school blood drive. They submitted a campaign slogan, explained why it would encourage fellow students to donate, and expressed their campaign theme with one or more innovative and artistic marketing techniques.

Katelyn Garber, Houston High School: "It Could Be You."

"Who doesn't want to save someone's life?" asked Katelyn in her scholarship essay. "It's such an awesome feeling!"

Katelynn designed a t-shirt with her "It Could be You Who Saves a Life" slogan on the front and "Someone Needs It… Daughter, Son, Mother, Father, Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Sister, Brother, Friend, STRANGER" on the back.

"Sometimes we find ourselves helpless when we want to do something to help someone who isn't doing well, there's no better way than to donate blood!" said Katelyn. "With my slogan, 'It Could Be You,' it allows students and community members to understand why it is important to donate blood. 'It Could be You' who saves someone's life."

Madison Hildebrand, Newton High School: "Give the Gift of Life."

Madison impressed the judges by adapting the holiday novelty tune "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" into the creative and care-free blood drive recruitment video "I Want a Cute Phlebotomist for Christmas."

Madison rewrote the tune to fit her "Give the Gift of Life" theme. The video features Madison and six friends wearing holiday pajamas and performing the song and choreography in front of the living room Christmas tree.

"I believe that my theme 'Give the Gift of Life' will encourage my classmates to donate blood, especially around the Christmas season," Madison explained in her scholarship essay. "During the holidays, the season of giving, there is always a sentiment of generosity. Donating blood, is a great gift to give, because it is free, easy, and most of all... meaningful."

"I think that my theme will persuade others to be giving, not only around the holidays, but throughout the rest of their life as well. Especially if one day, they find themselves in the position, waiting for someone to return the favor."

Lauren Dudgeon, Fairlawn High School: "Use Your Type to Help Rewrite Someone's Script."

"My theme, help people by donating your type, will motivate people to donate," Lauren wrote in her scholarship essay.  She created a t-shirt design with a blood bag and tubing leading to a blood drop on a scroll of paper.  It included her slogan, "Use your Type to Help Rewrite Someone's Life."

"People will be motivated because my slogan shows how your blood can be a part of someone's life," she said. "My slogan is a metaphor showing how your blood type can help save a person's life and be a part of their story."

"The blood type they give is compared to typing on a page, and the script is compared to the story of a person's life. We need people to continue donating their blood to keep the beautiful story going."

Alexander Johnson, Northwestern High School: "Heroes Come in All Types."

Alex starred in the spring musical at Northwestern High and he's also a fan of superheroes on the big screen.  That inspired his theme "Heroes Come in All Types." He created a colorful poster and t-shirt design with different superhero insignias representing blood types.

"There aren't many opportunities where an average individual can directly save someone's life, so it is hard for some to understand the importance of donating blood," Alex wrote in his scholarship essay.

"Just like superheroes, blood donors save lives. Also, like superheroes, blood donors have different "powers." Just as the Flash has the unique power of superspeed, a type AB-negative donor has his unique power to help the one percent of people that need that type of blood. Just as the Hulk has super strength, type 0-negative donors have the ability to donate to 100 percent of recipients, a great power than can save countless lives."

"By introducing donors to this idea, they'll better understand the enormous power that they hold as a blood donor, while also identifying with their unique type. While not actually having superpowers, blood donors are definitely heroes."


Ashlynn Coleman, Kettering Fairmont High School: "YOU Make the Difference."

As both a blood donor and a blood drive volunteer, Ashlynn understands the power of social media in recruiting donors.  She impressed the judges by creating a social media campaign and using it effectively at her high school blood drives.

"I believe everyone should donate blood and social media is a great way to encourage people, especially teenagers to donate," Ashlynn wrote in her scholarship essay.

"Being an Allied Health student, I was given the privilege to help work the blood drives at our school. In the fall, I made a frame to take pictures with that has bold blood drops and "Fairmont Blood Drive" on it. With this frame, I took pictures during the blood drive for Fairmont's Student Council to Tweet throughout the day with the hashtag #fairmontblooddrive. We Tweeted out these pictures again before the spring blood drive and we gained over 100 new donors compared to the previous fall blood drive."

The Lead The Way scholarship program is supported by a grant from Vectren.  CBC and Vectren annually award $1,000 in college tuition assistance to five graduating, college-bound seniors whose high school hosts a CBC blood drive.