Red Cross representation at Oakdale High School


Sydney Kubic

In November of 2020, Oakdale Red Cross donated items they collected through their donation drive to the Frederick Animal Shelter.

Sydney Kubic, Writer

The Oakdale High school Red Cross club was formed in the fall of 2018. High school Red Cross clubs are student-run clubs that focus on creating volunteer opportunities for high school students to gain service hours and give back to their community and they work closely with the national-local affiliate.

Laura Heck has been working with the Red Cross since 2021, and she is one of the many people who monitors the Red Cross clubs in Frederick and Montgomery counties. She is the main advisor from the local affiliate to Oakdale’s club on the Red Cross employment level. Ms. Heck’s favorite part about working with clubs is “attending youth and young adult-led meetings and seeing the incredible things they are contributing to our world.”

Jennifer Cole, English teacher at OHS, is the faculty advisor to Oakdale’s Red Cross club. She has been active with the American Red Cross since she was sixteen years old and has been the faculty advisor to Oakdale’s club since the club was founded. Ms. Cole’s role is to advise the student leaders of the club on the planning of drives and outreach events collaborating with Ms. Heck.

The current student president of the club is Sean McGaha, a senior, who has been with the club since its founding his freshman year. He has acted as vice president and was president of the club during the 2020-2021 school year as well. He is the leader of the club that helps to plan all of their events, one of the biggest is the donation drive.

While they are not directly involved in the Blood Drive here, Ms. Cole appreciates them: “The blood drives are my favorite, simply because they truly are an act of giving of yourself, and they make the biggest difference to our community.”

However, she also goes on to say, “I also enjoyed the comfort kit for kids drive,” which was a drive that collected emergency toiletries and comfort items for children displaced by natural disasters.

Much like Cole, McGaha had a similar opinion on his favorite event that he had helped to plan, however he had different reasoning for his event explaining, “I enjoyed organizing the Comfort Kits for Kids Drive because it was our most successful donation drive and we saw the most club participation.”

They held that drive in the spring of 2021 which he saw as a turning point in the pandemic. Club members were more willing to participate and donate which was greatly appreciated. It was also the first time that Red Cross officials met at Oakdale High School to collect donations. Altogether, the drive was more of a mindset shift for our club and that is what inspires me to continue my work.

McGaha believes that the drive, held in spring of 2021, was a turning point for the club. During that time the pandemic had been slowing and more club members were comfortable with participating. Some of the club members and leaders were even able to meet in person at OHS. That time in the year was a shift in the mindset as a whole.

This year with schools returning back to in-person learning, Oakdale’s Red Cross club is able to return to having in person club meetings. All of the club’s leaders and advisors are in agreement that they are excited to bring a sense of normalcy back to the club this year. They also hope that this year will encourage increased student participation in the club.