Formulating fall festivities

Falcons prep for fall events around the school


Melissa Rump

“We’ll be having standard turkey, mashed potatoes, and all the general foods you expect to have at a thanksgiving dinner. Some of it will be catered by Hyee and others will be donations from teachers,” Cody Neeper Burris said.

Joseph Potts, Reporter

As the fall season arrives, West students and teachers prepare for a Thanksgiving dinner that will be held at the cafeteria on Monday, Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

The idea came originally as a way to help students and families that may not have the means to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. The idea of having a Thanksgiving meal at school is a new one, with this year being the second time doing an event like this. The idea originated from robotics students, specifically seniors Cody Neeper-Burris and Alyssa Rodridguez.

“Our sophomore year in robotics was actually our first year. We were coming up with voluntary ideas and we were talking with O’Hare about the homeless students at our school,” Rodridguez said. “We created something called the ‘care package drive’ where we came up with different donations from the community with different things they needed. Then she explained that some students don’t get to have their Thanksgiving dinner and everything we have because of their financial status. So from there, Cody and I together and Ms.O’Hare came up with a solution.”

This year the goal is to get more of the community involved with donating towards the event.

“Teachers are donating a lot of the food for that and then we did get 500 dollars from our boosters to help us buy like the turkey and mashed potatoes and the families that come and need a food basket. We’ll send a food basket home for Christmas too,” social worker Jenn O’Hare said.

From entrees, to side dishes, to all of the preparations are donations from West staff and the community.Anyone that wants to help provide food for the meal, give food for the Falcon’s Nest food pantry like non-perishable food items, or personal care items like clothes or toothpaste can call or email O’Hare.

While the Thanksgiving dinner is being made, there is another event called the holiday tree that is in the works as well. The holiday tree is a tree is hung up in either the library media center, the West Y, or the front office.

“It kind of just grew and the West Y has partnered with us and it has kind of grown into this big angel Christmas tree project where we identified some kids that may need some help at the holidays,” O’Hare said.”I meet with them and ask them ‘what do you need or what do you want’, and it can be anything. I tell kids you can ask for anything, but that doesn’t mean that’s what we can do.”

These meetings with O’Hare are anonymous. O’Hare then writes out all the ornaments and puts them on the tree. She then makes a signup sheet where people can sign up for a particular card to get the desired gift for the student(s).

The idea for the holiday tree came to fruition because O’Hare and some other teachers felt that kids need a program that could give presents for Christmas if they couldn’t afford a gift exchange. It was also made to be directed towards teenagers because the teachers noticed that there was a gap for programs like toys for tots that is geared towards giving older kids presents for Christmas.

“I love it. It’s fun. It’s exciting. My office gets messier and crazier everyday we get closer to the holidays and sometimes I get a little stressed out that won’t have enough money to get everything we wanted to get for kids, but it always seems to work out,” O’Hare said.