Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.

Giving Thanks

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Our Westminster Schools Thanksgiving Feast has, over the years, grown to colossal proportions. This year  we were expecting 400 to 600 attendees. I was in charge of the butternut squash (200 cups, please.) Our generous community farmers and friends at the Kurn Hattin School donated the milk, potatoes, butter and squash for these minions. Many thanks to them!

A powerful group of TEAM parents, led by the intrepid Molly Banik, provided the expertise, energy and initiative to get the monstrous undertaking off the ground.

Cheryl Rounds, former staff member and great grandma, and Molly Banik, feast coordinator and parent.

The sixth graders were on hand early in the morning for lessons on how to serve. Both the cavernous gymnasium and the dining hall were set up restaurant style with white table cloths and burgundy napkins. ‘Feasters’ would eat with their families and other families at tables of eight. Our principal, Steve Tullar, was on hand to welcome parents to the tables. Centerpieces were made by students and our talented Art teacher, Colleen Grout. Songs were sung by all 600 of us, under the direction of  Ashley Pane our Music teacher.

Setting up for the “Feast.”

Before 8 a.m., parents and students were at the ready, peeling an extra 50 lbs. of potatoes. (Our neighboring school, Kurn Hattin, helped with     cooking support… thankful that they’re just down the road!) Peter Terrell, our custodian, drove the huge pot of peeled potatoes, sloshing in icy water  to the Kurn Hattin School to be cooked. We welcomed someof their students and staff to the feast. Each Westminster student was responsible for providing a specific family contribution, such as bread or salad.

Kim Kinney, our chef, commandeered our own kitchen staff while stirring the enormous pot of turkey gravy. At the last minute someone donated 10 whole turkeys!! As you can see the spirit of  “giving” was the most important part of “giving thanks” this year at our school.

Thanksgiving buffet.

Ending  our feast, leftovers were made into dinners for hungry families. Any other leftovers were taken to the Bellows Falls Stone Church soup kitchen. (Mondays happen to be the days that they’re open for business.)

…………so thankful for the community energy that flows through this school!


Author: vermontschoolgarden

I have been an elementary teacher at the Westminster Center School for 30 years. For most of those years, I maintained a garden as part of my teaching curriculum resource. Now I am the Garden Coordinator for all of the Westminster Center School classrooms.

One thought on “Giving Thanks

  1. Thanks for capturing the spirit of the day, Irene! There was such wonderful community spirit in the building – both days (Sunday- Prep Day and Monday -Feast Day). The local produce played a huge role in the feeling of the day.

    Jason Goodell of Westminster Farms donated the butter fro the day.
    Richard Johnson led the Kurn Hattin Homes support.
    and I think our number attending was about 400.
    Special guests: Mr. and Mrs. Russell Allen (who bring bushels of apples to the school every fall from Allen Orchards).

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