He was presented with the award Sept. 10 at the Honouring our Lifeblood ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
When the biology teacher joined Lockerby's staff three years ago, students at the school were donating about 40 units of blood every year.
Gray, who used to work at Canadian Blood Services' call centre in Sudbury, said he figured he could help the school boost its donation rates.
Fast forward to the 2011-2012 school year, and Lockerby students donated 306 units of blood. They also came in sixth place for Young Blood for Life, Canadian Blood Services' youth-focused recruitment challenge.
Gray is now working at the Rainbow District School Board's alternative high school program at Cambrian College, but still helps run Lockerby's blood drive.
The key to Lockerby's success is having student recruiters speak to their peers about the need for donating blood, and increasing the number of donation dates so students have more opportunities to give a unit of blood, he said.
Canadian Blood Services also gives presentations in the school's biology classes about blood types and the need for blood donations.
“There's a lot to be said for peer pressure,” he said. “If one or two friends go, they encourage a third friend who might not have gone originally. Because they have the support of their friends, they do show up, and they end up donating.”
Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services, said in a press release that it's important to celebrate those who are the “heart of Canada's blood system” to encourage others to follow their lead.
“Giving blood, blood products and stem cells, and supporting the efforts of those who do, can be very fulfilling,” he said. “These altruistic acts by Canadians who share their vitality can have a direct impact on the lives of others in need.”
Grade 11 Lockerby students Sali Zhang and Paven Grewal are both student recruiters for the school's 2012-2013 blood drive.
Neither of them can donate themselves yet, as they're only 16, and the minimum age for blood donation is 17, but they both feel strongly about blood donation.
Zhang said she did a co-op at the Northeast Cancer Centre over the summer, and saw a lot of people who rely on donated blood.
“You really get to see how many people who need blood around Sudbury,” she said.
The student plans to donate blood as soon as she turns 17, although she admits she thinks she'll be a bit nervous the first time.
Grewal said she was encouraged to get involved in the initiative by her older brother, Davinder, who was a student recruiter before her.
“I finally met Mr. Gray, and I was really excited to work with him because my brother told me great things about him,” she said. “He was super-motivated to get people out there and donating blood. I was really proud when I heard Mr. Gray won the award.”
Getting her peers to agree to donate blood isn't the easiest thing, Grewal said.
“Some people were hesitant because they thought they were going to pass out, or they were going to get sick,” she said. “Once they came here and did it, they thought 'Oh, it's not that bad.'”
Grewal said she tells people that donating blood only takes about 15 minutes, but it can save a life.
“I wonder how many lives we've saved, with all the blood we've donated over the past three years?”