Fairfield, Pekin, Van Buren seniors earn IMPACT Awards

Several graduating seniors from area high school will receive the High School IMPACT Award from Mississippi Valley Region Blood Center.

Two graduating seniors from Fairfield High School will receive the award: Bryanna Popejoy and Abyni Garner.

Two graduating seniors from Pekin High School will receive the award: Hollie Loper and Kaitlyn Jones.

One graduating student from Van Buren High School also is a recipient: Courtney Merrill.

The blood center established the High School IMPACT Award to honor students who have made a significant impact on the local blood supply during their high school career.

Students qualify for the award by meeting either of the following criteria:

• Donating blood eight times or more or recruiting at least eight new blood donors (any combination of donations and recruiting is accepted).

• Hosting a blood drive outside of school during the critical months of January, June, July, August, or December.

For information on the High School IMPACT Award, previously known as the Gallon Grad award,visit

Students are eligible to begin donating blood at age 16, with a signed parental permission form provided by the blood center, and most began donating blood at a blood drive hosted by their high school.

“These students have done something really special,” said Maureen Steele, donor relations consultant for Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. “As dedicated supporters of our mission, students provide a resource that helps save lives at hospitals throughout our region. We are pleased to recognize our High School IMPACT Award winners because their support is so important to recruiting the next generation of blood donors.”

High School IMPACT Award recipients receive an award certificate and a red cord, signifying the connection between the donor, the blood center, and patients who have been helped by the student’s donations. With permission from their school, students can choose to wear the red cord in their high school graduation ceremony.