Math, reading, science and all those subjects are what people are used to students learning, but at the Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC), students are serving up a dish of thankfulness and learning along the way.
For the past eight years, Kim McCray, and her Culinary Arts class at SCCTC have created a Thankmas dinner right before Thanksgiving, to assist her in teaching not just cooking, but also in how to treat people out in the workforce they will eventually be entering.
Thankmas, which is a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas, allows students to get hands-on experience of preparing all sorts of dishes for a special person in their lives.
“We all get together and we get to invite one person who we are thankful for,” Culinary student Herizon Logan said. “We make all the food and then we tell everyone why we chose the person we invited.”
Students, both juniors and seniors, make up a complete menu and then prepare the dishes they choose, right there at the school, sometimes starting a couple of days ahead of the dinner. Menu items for this year included ham, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, veggies, pumpkin pie and more.
“They chose the menu, tried the recipes, invited the guest of honor, they prepared it, almost all from scratch,” McCray said. “They did table centerpieces, designed invitations to give to people; it is really an honor to get invited.”
McCray shared each student at the dinner gets up in front of the class and dinner attendees and shares why they are thankful for their guest.
“I invited my stepmom(special mom),” Senior, Morgan Thurman said. She is more of a mom to me than my real mom is. I said at the dinner; you are more of a real mom, you took me in when I had no one else, out of foster care.”
Kaylee York, who brought her mom and cousin, also shared why she was thankful for them.
“I brought both of them because they are my No. 1 support system,” York said. “My mom has had cancer and she’s been strong through it all. I am who I am because of my mom. She taught me how to be strong through the tough times.”
York shared that not only was the Thankmas dinner an excellent learning experience, but also a way to bring the different grades together.
“Our different grades are kind of like a big family as a class,” York said. “We are really close; it was just a good time to enjoy each other’s company and get out of class.”
McCray, along with her students, explained the dinner is their favorite event of the year. McCray said she has seen a wide variety of people who the students invite to the feast, from teachers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, preachers and teachers from other schools.
“It’s a big deal to get invited,” McCray said.
Since the start of Thankmas eight years ago, McCray said she has seen tremendous growth and each year it brings her to tears to hear what the students are thankful for and how much they appreciate their special guest.
“You sit there and cry when you see students be thankful and expressing their gratitude,” McCray said. “In my class, that is really important for people to be able to communicate and interact with people, like their customers and the people they work with. We do our Thanksmas dinner as a way to encourage people to be grateful, happy and encouraging.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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