A Decade of Dedication is Honored

At the Rhode Island Blood Center’s Hometown Heroes annual event, the Paul Cuffee Upper School (PCUS) community’s life saving contributions were recognized once again. In 2019, PCUS earned first place in the entire state when the total number of donations was divided by the total number of high school seniors in Rhode Island. This year, PCUS earned 2nd place in the under 100 seniors (small schools) category. They also won the Gianna Cirella Award for the highest percentage of first-time donors! This award is named after a Toll Gate High School junior who passed away from sepsis. During her treatment, Gianna received numerous blood donations, including one by a former Paul Cuffee teacher whose own family had benefited from the generosity of others.

This year, Ms. Arroyave and Ms. Thoma, who have been organizing school-based drives for more than a decade, were honored with the Vision Award for their unwavering commitment to the RI Blood Center’s mission. They were praised for recruiting PCUS seniors for three blood drives every year, as well as for dozens of presentations they have given at All School Meetings over the years. Together Ms. Arroyave and Ms. Thoma have signed up students and families for the Be The Match bone marrow registry, and coordinated trips for seniors to volunteer at the RI Blood Center. Their commitment to the cause inspires graduates to become life-long donors. One PCUS alumna, Gabriella Menjivar, is now a phlebotomist at the RI Blood Center. Over the last ten years, more than 650 donations have been made by PCUS staff and seniors, saving close to 2,000 lives in the process. That’s great news to share and a wonderful example of our teachers’ passion in action!