SAN BENITO — The gymnasium at San Benito High School took a break from physical activities and turned into a mini hospital for the day.
The third annual blood drive was held this week and students had the opportunity to stop by and donate blood that will be going to different hospitals and medical institutions in the Valley.
The drives are organized by the students from Health Occupations Students of America, or HOSA. Students range from freshmen to seniors and are in charge to encourage others to donate and participate.
Some of them have already been certified as nurse assistants and use this activity to practice what will one day be their full-time duty.
Aaron Cantu is the health science teacher and is also the nursing assistant program instructor.
Cantu has directed the blood drive for a few years but this year is the first time he did it solo.
Cantu is in charge of one of the many HOSA clubs in the school since they are divided by class.
Members are in charge of passing out fliers, the forms to sign up for the drive and information on statistics on the places their donation will go.
The staff from Vitalent, the organization in charge, are the ones who collect the blood and then send it to the certified practicing students.
The blood is processed in McAllen but comes back to Cameron County. Wherever it is needed, the blood will go there. Different health institutions benefit from this drive.
Dianna Arnedo, 17, is part of the HOSA club Cantu directs. Arnedo joined the club mainly because she feels inspired by Cantu.
“What makes him stand out is the environment and the people together,” Arnedo said.
“I want to become a psychiatrist so hopefully everything we are doing here is helping us in what we want be in, what path.”
Next year Arnedo plans to join the CNA and MA program to be able to graduate with the nurse assistant certification.
“You can graduate certified and go outside and get a job. You apply at a hospital and you have a job and you are gaining a lot more knowledge,” Arnedo said.
“The program really helps in the long run and you make a lot of memories and he is a really good teacher. I feel like it will help us a lot in life and you learn a lot from him.”
Another student, Ricardo Ruiz, 18, began to practice for his future career at the drive.
Ruiz is a certified nurse aid and plans to become a registered nurse and then a nurse practitioner.
Ruiz started to get an interest in the nursing field when he started high school and saw the medical classes and health science programs.
“My mother was always a health care professional since I was born and ever since then I looked at her work and it was pretty interesting. It wasn’t what I wanted to be in the beginning but after going through these classes here it changed.”
Ruiz checked for vital signs, checked blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration.
“The drive is very successful, and we usually have the most people that sign up. Being a part of HOSA is great, people are always looking for a club on what they like, and knowing there is a club specifically for health care is great.”