Local students win ‘Lead the Way’ scholarships


DAYTON — Five area high school seniors have earned $1,000 Community Blood Center/Vectren Lead The Way Creative Scholarships for illustrating giving blood as acts of courage, compassion and celebration in their award-winning blood drive campaigns.

The 2018 Lead The Way winners are: Hayley Maher from Greenville Senior High School; Mikayla Schaffner from Miami East High School; Karson Hudson from Valley View High School; Kacie Tackett from Newton High School; and Kayla Helmick from Cedarville High School.

Two winners are from Miami County high schools. It’s the third consecutive year a scholarship has gone to a Miami East senior and the second year in a row to a Newton High senior. It’s the first year to have winners from Greenville, Valley View and Cedarville.

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.

• Mikayla Schaffner, Miami East High School: “Giving up isn’t in our blood.”

Mikayla emphasized courage and strength in her “Giving up isn’t in our blood” campaign. The judges were impressed by her original artwork. She explained, “The picture I created includes a blood bag in the shape of a heart that is filled with blood and words of encouragement.”

Mikayla is an award-winning athlete at Miami East, and her campaign emphasized confidence and team spirit. “Both the individuals who donate and who are in need of blood are brave and bold,” she wrote. “Not a large number of people like to volunteer to get their blood drawn for donation, and that’s why the people who do are so important. ‘Giving up isn’t in our blood’ is a slogan that can bring people together to donate and save the lives of individuals who are in need of blood.”

Mikayla will attend the Columbus College of Art & Design and would like to work for a major motion picture company.

• Kacie Tackett, Newton High School: “Put up a Fight for the ones that are Fighting.”

Kacie was National Honor Society president at Newton High and earned a CBC “Red Cord” for supporting school blood drives. The T-shirt she designed for her “Put up a Fight for the ones that are Fighting” campaign features a bright red pair of boxing gloves. Kacie also submitted a special photo with grandmother, who receives dialysis treatments three times a week. Kacie wore red boxing gloves in the photo and they both wore her “Put up a Fight” T-shirts.

“Many people have someone special to them that is fighting,” wrote Kacie, using the examples of cancer patients and accident victims. “Many people could also know someone who has lost their fight. Students usually think there is nothing they can do to help their loved one. However, with this campaign students can feel like they are helping their loved one by something as simple as donating blood.”

Kacie plans to attend Edison State Community College and later Urbana University to study early childhood education and guidance counseling.

• Hayley Maher, Greenville Senior High School: “Blood Gives.”

Hayley is the class of 2018 valedictorian at Greenville Senior High School and has made five lifetime blood donations. Her “Blood Gives” campaign featured a video and it received the highest score from the Lead The Way judges.

“Giving blood is a celebration of the little things in life that recipients of blood donations are able to experience more of,” she wrote. “Birthdays, family vacations, laughs with friends, anniversaries, and hundreds of other invaluable life experiences.”

She illustrated the “blood gives more life” theme with a graphic design, and in an original video montage of life celebrations. The video also includes facts about blood donations and multiple interviews with classmates about why they donate.

Hayley plans to study exercise science at the University of Mount Union with the goal of working in sports medicine.

• Karson Hudson, Valley View High School: “The Sound of Life … Keep it Going.”

Karson sang in school musicals and the chamber choir at Valley View. She’s also a hospice volunteer and has made four lifetime blood donations. She says her “The Sounds of Life… Keep it Going” theme combines her twin passions of helping others and music. She designed artwork for both a t-shirt and recyclable shopping bag. It features a musical scale with blood drops as the notes, with each representing a different blood type.

The judges were impressed by her “sound of life” theme, both as a metaphor for blood donations, and the calming use of music at blood drives.

“Just like notes and melodies make up the music that we live, blood drives are heartbeats that give us the sound of life,” she wrote. “Additionally, if people are apprehensive or nervous about donating blood, incorporating music can serve as a way to relax people and make them more comfortable.”

Karson plans to major in nursing at Case Western University and would like specialize in neonatal nursing.

• Kayla Helmick, Cedarville High School: “Be Brave … And Save!”

Kayla caught the judges’ attention by designing a poster with a detailed drawing of the human heart. She included thought-provoking information about blood donations along the arteries branching from her heart design.

“I really geared by poster towards those who are afraid of needles,” Kayla wrote. “This is what sparked by interest in this scholarship. I think this poster would be very successful in pointing out that having a little bravery and getting past the thought of needles can have a huge impact and save someone’s life.”

Kayla plans to study exercise science and nutrition at Miami University. She has a passion for health and wellness and hopes to start her own business helping people live healthier lifestyles.

The $5,000 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.

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