In the spirit of bringing students and faculty together, Salem High School hosted a “Friendsgiving” celebration that was planned and hosted by several of Salem High School’s Reach Grant club members. Tressie Barrett, a teacher and club sponsor, was talking with students in her Food Design Club when they came up with the idea.
It “was born out of an informal, spontaneous discussion between a few of the Food Design Club members and me,” said Barrett. “We were brainstorming what activities and projects we wanted to do this year, and someone blurted out ‘Friendsgiving!’ I reached out to the other REACH grant sponsors to see if they wanted to collaborate with us to host a Friendsgiving for the students participating in their clubs. The sponsors wanted to create a fun event for our students that would allow them to make some new connections, learn about opportunities within other clubs, take ownership in planning and executing an event, and pause to reflect and give thanks.” The idea quickly became a reality and all of the REACH grant clubs began helping out.
“Art Club (Carole Clodfelter), Baking Club (Jessica Morgan), CAM Club (Gayle Hill), Disney Club (Amy Whitlatch and Josh Lewis), Explorers Club (Gayle Hill), Food Design Club (Tressie Barrett), and Guitar Club (Matthew Adkins) participated in Friendsgiving,” said Barrett, adding that each club contributed in different ways. Some students crafted the decorations, while others prepared the food, played live music, made games or aided with the setup and cleanup that took place before and after the event. Both the Art Club and Explorers Club made gratitude turkeys for students to write what they were thankful for as well.
Each club has had opportunities and experiences made possible by the REACH grant, Friendsgiving being one of them. “Lori Hazelip, Jana Hayes, and Troy Albert have been supportive of all REACH grant related activities (and) Friendsgiving was made possible through the REACH grant and their efforts,” said Barrett.
The celebration was a lot of work but, according to the near 70 students who came, it was quite a hit.
“I thought Friendsgiving was awesome, it was a great way to get together and get to know each other better… and the food was delicious,” said Chloe Zink, a student who participated through both the Food Design and Disney Clubs.
Another student, Weston Smith, who played live music with his club leader Matthew Adkins, said, “I thought that Friendsgiving was a lot of fun and some of my favorite parts were playing guitar for everyone and enjoying the food.”
Even the sponsors were impressed with the turn-out of the event. Barrett said, “Personally, I was stunned and so impressed by the work all the students and sponsors put in to make the event a huge success. The decorations and gratitude turkey were amazing, the live music was awesome, and the food was innovative and delicious. I am very thankful for the faculty, staff, and students at our school. Events like Friendsgiving are a good reminder that while we all have our different thoughts, skills, and talents, we are one big family and can accomplish extraordinary things when we work together. It was wonderful to see everyone working together and using their talents to serve one another in order to create a memorable evening.”