Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and a boy who needs surgery

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is all about spending time with people you care about, and these days my students rank up there for me. It is also about eating turkey, something that most of the kids had never done.

A couple of months ago I decided to make Thanksgiving dinner for the kids who have been volunteering to help out the boy who needs surgery. I decided not to tell them until Monday and most were really excited to join in, but one group said they wanted to not join in because they felt like it was a sort of pay off for helping the boy. They said they helped the boy because they wanted to do something good, not for a payoff. Eventually they relented. You gotta love the purity of some these kids hearts.

The past week has been ridiculously busy (hence no posts) between shopping, collecting pine cones and branches for decorations and cooking. All went pretty well with the small exception of the oven not working for about twenty minutes when I put the turkey in it. My first attempt to repair it, which entailed cursing at it, did not work as well as I had hoped. The second attempt was more succesful and the food was ready, shockingly, a bit early.

Sandy was a great worker as always. Thanks to her and our friends, Elizabeth and Seiphemo, we got the food on the buffet.

33 kids, along with the Principal, Vice-Principal and some other teachers, came in and they were shocked to see the classroom transformed into a reasonably nice looking dining room. We covered the 6 foot tables with white paper so they looked like tablecloths. We ran the pines and pine cones down the middle. We lit up the room with dozens of candles.

We cooked turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, salad and pie. The kids devoured everything with the exception of the green beans...bought ten 9.75 leftover.

The kids seemed to have a good time chowing down on all of the food. After they finished with their plates, they began devouring the remaining food.

I thought the best way to top the night was to have a video call with Se Teu, the boy they raised money for, along with his mother and my friend. I did not tell the students about was going to be a surprise. The surprise ended up being my friends web cam dying and us struggling to serve dinner and help her with her technical issue.

We were getting ready to give up and I told the students the final total of money they raised, $1000...exactly enough to pay for the 3 operations the boy needs. I was in the middle of telling the kids that the surprise I had planned and that it was not going to happen when Elizabeth walked in and said we had a connection. I literally jumped and yelled like a little school girl...what the hell has happened to me.

The call was quite short, but perfect. My friend introduced the boy to the kids and they said a few words. After a little prompting from my friend, the boy said, "Thank You" in a sweet, raspy, little boy voice...a couple of the girls had tears in their was perfect.

After the call, I thought things would wrap up, but the kids wanted to stay around and chat, so instead of ending around 7 like I thought, we wrapped it up at 9:15. The kids loved Seiphemo and Elizabeth, and now they took over my status as school superstar. I, of course, hate them at this point.

This has got to be one of the hardest, most memorable Thanksgiving Day's that I have ever had. I hope yours was just as memorable.

No comments: