Celebrating Friendsgiving at Avalon Park Elementary School
30 November 2023
This event is sure to be a highlight of the school year for all of Avalon Park’s students.
While the hallways at Avalon Park Fine and Performing Arts School are often bustling with the joy and laughter of its students, its main hallway was filled with positive energy for a different reason recently. School staff worked tirelessly to transform it into a Thanksgiving—or, as the school called it, “Friendsgiving”—feast.
Their efforts required 13 lunchroom tables to be brought out into the hallway and placed side-by-side, spanning nearly its entire length. White tablecloths and fall decorations adorned them. The Avalon Park team created a special seating chart to ensure that all siblings could sit together, and students waited patiently to hear their names called over the school’s intercom system.
Once they were called, they eyed the plates of food with great anticipation. School staff ensured that students got to eat all of the main foods associated with Thanksgiving—turkey, dressing, collard greens, sweet potatoes, and dinner rolls. There were also cupcakes for dessert and iced tea and juice pouches to wash everything down, which were all donated by Avalon Park’s parents.
This event is sure to be a highlight of the school year for all of Avalon Park’s students, but it was an especially enjoyable time for students like Mariah, a fifth-grader who is a new student at Avalon Park this year. From her first bite of the meal, she knew she was in for a treat.
“I tasted the greens and they were outstanding,” said Mariah. “Next, I’m looking forward to the yams because I love yams.”
The Friendsgiving celebration was a reflection of the consistently positive experience that Mariah has had at Avalon Park this school year. While being a new student can bring some nerves, she instead shares that all of her classmates are really nice and the teachers teach great lessons that help her learn a lot.
For example, math is a subject that Mariah wants to improve in this year. The support of her math teacher, Ms. Leachman, has gone a long way in helping her feel more confident tackling her math coursework, which has recently included multiplying fractions and mixed numbers. She has even felt inspired to practice what she has been learning more outside of the classroom.
When she’s not working on math and her other core subjects, Mariah loves drawing. She uses a variety of materials—colored pencils, paint pens, and metallic markers—to create her artwork, identifying eyes and bodies as what she likes to draw the most. Outside of school, she’s a budding volleyball player.
While Mariah thoroughly enjoyed her meal at Friendsgiving, her favorite part of the event was how it made her feel. She felt a deep sense of happiness seeing everyone come together as a school community. It’s the same feeling she’s gotten when she’s made new friends or learned something new. She knows that Avalon Park is where she is meant to be.
“I feel so welcome knowing that they put all this work and effort into creating this feast and letting us have fun,” she said. “I think the students here deserve opportunities like this because they allow us to celebrate the holidays and each other.”
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