Sunday’s rainstorm left some of us wondering if it would be worth it to leave the house and go anywhere at all; the senior citizens of the Tri-Town, however, know what they would have been missing out on if they didn’t make it to the Old Rochester Regional Junior High Thanksgiving Senior Banquet – the downpour of gravy over turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes that they didn’t have to cook themselves and with no post-feast cleanup.
It’s up to the ORR Junior High staff volunteers to do the cooking and the student volunteers to do the serving and table clearing while the school community showers its guests of honor with thanks for its support.
Students met the guests outside the entrance to escort them inside as swiftly as possible while keeping them as dry as possible, even as the worst of the rainfall fell just as it was time to arrive. The students managed its small fleet of wheelchairs for the long trip from the parking lot and down the long school hallway to the cafeteria – a path that would otherwise seem a little like a maze if not for the mouthwatering aroma of a turkey feast to draw one in the right direction.
Tables were arranged with seasonal centerpieces and silverware and each guest was personally accompanied inside by smiling students eager for the moment to come when the kitchen doors would be flung open and the mad turkey dash could begin.
Superintendent Doug White made his usual rounds going table to table to chat with the senior population of the regional school district, except this would be his last Thanksgiving banquet, as White will retire at the end of this school year.
Students spent hours preparing for the event, including the day before, setting the tables and decorating the cafeteria with banners and real pumpkins that made the space feel like a true altar for both giving and gratitude.
By Jean Perry