More than 120 students, teachers and staff representing 45 Coastal Bend high schools recently gathered at the Omni Bayfront Hotel to celebrate the conclusion of the Coastal Bend Blood Center’s annual High School Hero Challenge at an awards luncheon to honor the 45 area high schools that participate in the organization’s annual blood drive competition.

This year-long competition separates participating high schools into four divisions based on size and encourages them to generate the highest number of blood donations for their division. The top four schools in each division are awarded gift certificates for use on items to benefit the school.

This year’s winners and donation numbers were as follows:

Division 1A

1st place – Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco with 259; 2nd place – Woodsboro with 180; 3rd place – Incarnate Word Academy with 163; Honorable Mention – Agua Dulce with 73

Division 2A

1st place – Bishop with 263; 2nd place – Kaufer with 140; 3rd place – Banquete with 118; Honorable Mention – Odem with 112

Division 3A

1st place – Falfurrias with 473; 2nd place – Sinton with 354; 3rd place – Ingleside with 186; Honorable Mention – San Diego with 174

Division 4A/5A

1st place – Calallen with 679; 2nd place – Gregory Portland with 575; 3rd place – Mary Carroll with 386; Honorable Mention – Rockport-Fulton with 356

Other area schools particpating included Alice with 87; H.M. King with 202; Tuloso-Midway with 114; Mathis with 80; Orange Grove with 164; Banquete with 118; Freer with 62; Kaufer with 140; Premont with 58; Benavides with 66; and K.E.Y.S. Academy with 39.

The Coastal Bend Blood Center is an independent non-profit community-based blood center, accredited by the AABB and licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. The Blood Center is one of 76 members of America’s Blood Centers, the largest provider of blood products and services in North America. The Coastal Bend Blood Center provides blood for patients at 12 medical facilities in 10 Coastal Bend counties.