CHS’ Biannual Blood Drive

From left to right: junior Alissa Dunn, sophomore Praveen Puviindran, sophomore John Duncan, sophomore Daniel Kapner, sophomore Chris Smith, sophomore Lily Gallardo and junior Megan Cubell pose in the gymnasium. Photo by Elsie Baker

On April 4, 2019, Carrboro High held a blood drive in their gymnasium. All student donors who were under 18 were required to bring a form signed by their parent or guardian. The American Red Cross brought their equipment at the beginning of the school day, and drew blood from donors all day.  

Praveen Puviindran, CHS sophomore, from the Carrboro Red Cross club, volunteered to help donors recover after they gave their blood.

“After each donor gave blood, we were in charge of making sure they didn’t show any signs of fainting like losing color in their face or slurred words. Then, we would give them any food or drink they wanted. They could go back to class around 15 minutes after they gave blood,” said Puviindran.

The club was started over five years ago, and the presidency has been handed down to rising seniors each year. Currently, Megan Cubell and Alissa Dunn are the presidents and the advisor is is Nurse Hancock.

Two blood drives are held every year, one in the fall and one in the spring. It’s held to receive blood to give to the American Red Cross Association. This last spring the blood drive received 42 donors.

“It’s important to me to volunteer at the blood drive because I know that even if I’m not old enough to donate myself, I know I’m helping people who are in need of help. One donor can save four lives,” said Puviindran.

If you’re interested, sign up to donate next year. If you are under 16, you can always join the club and volunteer like Puviindran.

Huge Shift in The Art Department

At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, Carrboro High School’’s beloved chorus teacher, Kay Johnson, retired. Johnson worked as the Chorus and Orchestra teacher at the school for 11 years, since 2007. Her retirement left two open positions in the music/art department.

Carrboro hired Valerie Puhala to serve in the vacant chorus position. Puhala taught as a chorus teacher for four years at West Wilkes High School before coming to Carrboro High. In addition to teaching Chorus, she teaches one period of AVID.

At Puhala’s last school, she was was one of the only music teachers for the day, so there was a lot more work for her. Here at Carrboro, the other music and arts teachers help her plan her concerts and other choral events.

I was excited about the closeness of the teachers in the arts department and the strength of the arts program as a whole,” said Puhala in an email interview about why she choose Carrboro High School for her job.

Casey Spillman is in his second year as the CHS band director.. He worked as a band teacher for 12 years prior to being at CHS. He replaced Ms. Johnson as the orchestra director when she retired at the end of last year.

“Once I knew it was okay with her, I checked to see could I get (basically inherit) the orchestra program. It was my request,” said Spillman.

This is Spillman’s first year directing Orchestra, and he has never worked with string instruments as a director. But his love for classical music gave him the courage to give it a try.

Spillman teaches two separate periods of Orchestra, one period of symphonic band,  one period of Jazz Ensemble and a structured study period called “Study for Success.” In addition to all this, he directs the pep band for football games. For many teachers, this teaching load could be overwhelming.

“It’s a good kind of stress; it’s far more planning. I get here in the morning anywhere between 7:00 and 7:30. I have first period planning so I need to give myself at least two hours, two and a half hours, to kind of make my plans for the day.”

Students have enjoyed having Mr. Spillman as their new orchestra teacher. Those who have had other teachers noticed some differences between Ms. Johnson’s teaching and his.

He is very encouraging and I’m sure that under his instruction the Carrboro orchestra will continue to improve and expand,” said senior Anna Biglaiser over email, who has been in orchestra for 6 years (including middle school).