Students, seniors enjoy each other’s company while “gobbling” Thanksgiving feast.
By Mary O’KEEFE
Thanksgiving came a little early to Holy Redeemer School. On Monday, the cafeteria was filled with long tables decorated with Thanksgiving Day poems and prayers and fall flowers. The walls were lined with pictures colored by first graders with help from their eighth grade buddies. The festive fall decor was ambiance for the school’s annual Thanksgiving Day celebration sponsored by seventh and eight graders who served a turkey dinner to about 60 members of the Pioneer Club of the Foothills.
The annual traditional feast began 14 years ago as a way to bridge the generation gap with the help of turkey, mashed potatoes and yams.
“The students’ parents prepared the meal this morning. The school donates the turkeys; we have cooked five for today,” said Principal Susan Fife. “The kids will escort a senior to the serving table and carry the food back to their table. They will also wait on them.”
The Pioneer Club has its regular meetings at the school twice a month.
“We plan trips and [events]. We have fun,” explained Karna Meese, club member.
They also receive updates on what members are doing, including if anyone is sick, and promote local fundraisers and charitable events. And of course they play Bingo. But on Monday the game was delayed while their hosts served them a delicious turkey dinner.
“These are wonderful kids,” said Ruth Seidel, Pioneer club member.
Principal Fife said the event began the year she arrived at the school. Back then the students served about 100 seniors, but the number dropped last year and her eighth graders did not get to participate.
“They were very disappointed,” she said.
This year the classes were all present and ready to help.
“I have been looking forward to this,” said Megan Bosveld, student body president.
When it was time to eat the students went to the tables and escorted their guest. The women took the young men’s arm and they walked to the table.
“I haven’t had this pleasure in many years. I am 92 years old after all. It is nice having lunch with a young man,” said Regina Diamond.
Her “young man” was Liam Cascelli who said he liked the opportunity to speak with seniors and hear stories of the past.
“It’s fun to interact with them and find out what life was like back then. I love history, ” he said.
The students were all respectful of their guests, making certain to be polite and to address them as ma’am and sir.
“All the kids show respect,” said Monsignor [Father] Jack Foley.
The event is a win/win for both the students and seniors, Fife said.
“Some of the kids don’t have grandparents or don’t get to see them often. This gives them a chance to be around older people. And it shows seniors that there are young people who are respectful and kind,” Fife said.
From the smiles on both the students’ and seniors’ faces, the day went exactly as planned.
“This is just wonderful. I hope I can eat all of this,” said Mickie Cummings as she looked at the amount of food on her plate.