Turkey for the community

Keely Dakin
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The annual turkey dinner served at St. Michael Community School each Thanksgiving works to promote parental involvement by connecting families to their children’s life at school.

Family members of all ages came out to enjoy St. Michael Community School’s Thanksgiving meal on Friday. About 360 people ate the traditional turkey, stuffing and gravy meal.

Students, their families, instructors and volunteers came out on Friday to hunt through the turkey for the lurking wishbones.

This is Therese Gerow’s second year as community school co-ordinator and the second dinner she has organized. However, these dinners have been going on for many years.

“My kids attended school here, my oldest is 27, so 20 years …  for sure.”

“It’s a huge community builder,” Gerow said.

Last year 400 people were served and this year another 360, including the student body of 246.

Twenty-five volunteers make the communal dinner a possibility every year, working for a day and a half to get the meal together.

“It’s a really nice way to bring the families in. We feel it’s really important to make them feel at home.”

Gerow said that the children always seem very happy to have their parents come into the school for dinner.

Getting the family comfortable in the school is important for the students and the parents, she said.

“Family involvement really does impact the children’s learning and success.”

Along with the positive impact of bringing the families into the school, St. Michael’s has also invited Elder Rose Fleury to lend her time and presence to the school one day a week.

Fleury, nearly 85-years-old, will soon begin her second year as the resident Elder.

Speaking over turkey dinner, Fleury said she committed her time to the school when there were discussions about bullying going on and she decided she could be of some help.

“I’m gonna see what can be done here,” Fleury said.  

“This is something that they have to open their eyes to. No hard feelings with each other, and if they start pushing around and then (they) fight and fight, fight, fight and it doesn’t stop.”

“It’s gotta stop,” she said.

“I just sorta grab’ em and pull em aside and tell them, ‘how would you like it if I did that to you?’ ‘I wouldn’t like it,’ (they say). ‘Well then why do you do it?’ ‘Well because,’ (they reply). ‘Because of what?’ They don’t even know why. This is something that they have to open their eyes and ears to,” Fleury said.

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