For Temitope Olrainde, a fifth grader at Holliman School in Warwick, the class assignment was very personal: write an essay that helps persuade someone to donate blood.
Personal, because Temitope is battling sickle cell anemia. A blood transfusion, following a severe nosebleed, prevented him from fainting or, he said, something “worse.”
His essay was among six by Holliman fifth graders that were chosen as the most persuasive within the class, hoping to encourage their parents to donate at the school’s spring blood drive March 24. At the drive, 22 pints of blood were collected, exceeding the goal of 20.
Holliman School has been running the program for several years, and the pupils’ essays often become personal stories of themselves or loved ones who have needed blood transfusions. And the drives regularly reach or exceed the goal.
As in past years, the essays were presented at an assembly of the fifth grade, attended also by parents and teachers. The assembly was held Monday, the same day as the blood drive.
Winning students this year, in addition to Temitope, were Nathan Rainey, Noah Sullivan, Skyla Contarino, Jalyn Wellington and Elijah Howland.
“Have you ever wanted wings or to become a guardian angel? Well, you’re probably thinking it takes a lifetime of good deeds to become one, but guess what, it doesn’t,” wrote Skyla Contarino. “All you have to do is come down to your local blood drive, blood mobile or blood center location and earn your wings today!”
“Life,” said Nathan Rainey, “is a treasure chest and blood is gold. Fill the treasure chest with gold.”
Each essay encouraged their parents, even their teachers, to donate, whether at the school’s blood drive or at other drives or donor centers.
They spoke of blood’s journey, from the donor to the lab, and eventually those people who simply “need it.”
“Blood donations are helpful,” wrote Temitope. “Maybe you know that now that I’ve told you my story.”