Students learn lesson about serving others
CHRISTIANSBURG — Thanksgiving traditions come in a variety of forms.
For more than 20 years at Independence Secondary School, an alternative eighth- through 12th-grade school in
Christiansburg, those forms have included a handful of students cooking until the wee hours of the morning before grabbing a few hours of shuteye on one of the classrooms’ floors.
Eight students, two males and six females, took part in preparing the school’s annual Thanksgiving feast Monday night, as well as serving about 60 classmates during Tuesday’s lunch hour.
Program coordinator Larry Lowe said the students not only cooked and served the feast, but they also had sole control over the menu and the shopping list of ingredients.
Lowe said the event gives his students an opportunity to feel appreciated by fellow members of the school’s community, as well as giving them a chance to interact with other students and faculty in a nontraditional school setting.
Appreciated was very much how ninth-grader Allie Moorefield said she felt as the compliments about her homemade biscuits came pouring in Tuesday. Moorefield said she’d first heard of the traditional feast from her sister, who is a former I.S.S. student, and that the experience had not disappointed.
Likewise, first-year feast preparer Alley Delby said she had only been attending the school three weeks but heard the event was fun and decided to “plunge in.”
Delby said she’d spent the night helping craft the four pumpkin pies, along with her own recipe for bacon macaroni and cheese.
“It was awesome,” Delby said.
Their classmate, Dylan Howard, played the role of the veteran at this year’s feast, but the 14-year-old was still very excited to share his own personal tradition with his classmates — venison stew.
Howard said that after last year’s two crock pots of the stew were quick to disappear, he knew the “old family-tradition recipe” had to make a second appearance. That appearance was made possible by a 180-pound deer, which he’d shot a week before the feast.
Once the meal began, Howard took to the serving line, offering each of the students a choice between regular venison stew and his special spicy version. Howard declined to comment on the exact ingredients of the spicy version, but a rumor persisted among the student population that a bottle of Texas Pete hot sauce had mysteriously disappeared during the meal’s preparation.
In all, the meal included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, three types of macaroni and cheese, two types of green beans, sweet potato casserole, venison stew, corn, deviled eggs, biscuits, cornbread, four pumpkin pies, two apple pies, and close to two gallons of banana pudding.
Despite the spread of food, which more than filled the front room of the school’s building, it was the fellowship of the day that Howard said was his favorite part of the occasion.
“That we get to sit down, eat, and talk,” he said.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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