Teacher Hosts 10th Annual ELD Thanksgiving Feast
For the past ten years, Maureen Wille’s students at Hodgkins Elementary School have reenacted the first Thanksgiving held between Native Americans and Pilgrims of the “New World.” The event combines food, good will and a little bit of history.
As an English Language Development educator at Hodgkins Elementary and before, at the now closed Berkeley Gardens; Wille has hosted the event with the assistance of her close colleagues Amy Bennett and Lupita Arce.
“They play a huge role!” says Wille.
Preparation for the feast begins weeks in advance with classroom lessons in language, literacy, history, culture, planning and performing the event.
A cooking day is also set aside where groups of kids rotate through three different cooking stations. “Cooking is one of their favorite learning experiences,” said Bennett.
Current and former students also transform the classroom into the “First Thanksgiving” by setting tables with colorful table cloths, place settings, flowers and beautiful fall decorations.
Along with the in-school work, the Wille and Barela families spend hours at home making special, unique gifts for each student to take home after the event. “It has become our own special Thanksgiving tradition to assemble these gifts with love during our Bronco Sunday celebrations,” Maureen says.
Wille believes the event resonates differently in some D50 students who are new to the United States themselves, “It generates a space for them to experience first-hand the history, preparation, and traditions that make up our Thanksgiving,” she said.
For the 2014 celebration, Wille, Bennett, Arce and their team of volunteers served four turkeys, thirty five pounds of mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin muffins to 120 people.
“Probably the most important detail I wanted to be sure and include, is the kids have fun!” says Wille. “Our Thanksgiving Feast is a community effort that is only possible because of the generosity and warm-heartedness of our Hodgkins staff and our own personal families.”
See the video of their event.
Posted December 4, 2014