design: Lily Clark
photo credit: Taylor Stewart
After the past two years of uncertainty, the annual Senior Thanksgiving luncheon was successfully held once again. Seniors gathered as an entire class to celebrate and show gratitude for everything they have been through together.
This year’s Senior Thanksgiving was hosted on Nov. 3rd, a date that was earlier than most Thanksgivings have been in the past. However, the date was the only one that worked with the caterer’s availability.
“We would have preferred to have it the week before [students] left for Thanksgiving break or the week after [students] come back in December, considering last year’s was in mid- December. But the caterer had every other day fully booked,” Senior Class Cabinet member Monica Paredes said.
The caterer, Der Dutchman, has been providing the meals for Olentangy District Schools’ Senior Thanksgivings for many years. However, they have faced some difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Der Dutchman] is short staffed so normally they could [cater] multiple schools in one day. This year they can’t do that because they don’t have enough employees so we had to book the event a lot sooner than we normally would,” Senior Class Cabinet Adviser Kari Phillips said.
Despite the difficulties faced, Der Dutchman was able to provide a delicious traditional thanksgiving meal to approximately 500 students. The meal included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pie and other traditional thanksgiving dishes. In order to cover the cost of this, students were required to pay a $19 PowerSchool fee to attend the event.
“The caterer asked for $23 plus taxes from each student just for the food. Using our class funds, we decided to cover $4 for each student. Therefore, we just had everyone pay $19 in PowerSchool,” Paredes said. “The decorations and anything extra that we did was all covered by our class funds.”
Before students began to eat, members of the Senior Class Cabinet spoke to the seniors and staff that attended the event. Following their speeches, principal Trond Smith took the time to speak to the senior class, mainly commending them for their achievements over the past four years. In addition, he spoke about the importance of enjoying this last year with each other.
“I think it was important for Mr. Smith to speak [at Thanksgiving], because he is the one person that [every senior] has familiarized themselves with over these past four years,” Paredes said.
The Senior Class Cabinet made the festivities as memorable as possible for the seniors, as many decorations were set up throughout the auxiliary gym. In addition to the decorations, there were also backdrops and lights put up on the walls along with different props so that seniors could capture their Thanksgiving memories.
“It [Senior Thanksgiving] kicks off the senior events leading up to graduation that will work to bring the class together. So, this is the first one and it’s tradition in the Olentangy school district,” Phillips said.
With the emergence of COVID-19, last year’s Senior Thanksgiving looked a lot different from previous years, as several restrictions had to be placed to protect the safety and health of all involved.
“Last year, we had to do two different shifts for lunches because of capacity restraints,” Phillips said.
However, this year’s Senior Thanksgiving looked completely different. Students were able to eat and celebrate as a whole class without any restrictions, allowing them to start off a memorable senior year.