Frying turkeys, pounds (and pounds) of mashed potatoes, trays of corn and cranberry sauce, gallons of gravy and hundreds of dinner rolls. Add to all the delicious food friendship and giving, and you have the annual Crispell Middle School Thanksgiving Day celebration.
On the Friday before Thanksgiving Day, a dedicated group of staff members provide a full turkey dinner to Crispell’s special needs students and their families as well as the many volunteers who help throughout the day at the Pine Bush Fire House.
According to RoseMarie Bartlett, the Crispell Turkey Coordinator, the cooking began in the wee hours of the morning, with 19 turkeys taking the plunge this year. A shout out to the turkey cookers: Marty Bowe, Keith Bischof, Andy Bartlett, John Duffy, Keith Demy and Dave Smuteck.
The staff at Crispell and local grocery stores donate all of the food and beverages for the dinner. The volunteer students, staff and parents take it from there. This year, members of the Pine Bush High School STARS program were among those who volunteered to serve the dinner.
“It would be impossible to do this without the very skilled assistance of Principal John Boyle,” Bartlett noted.
It all started 18 years when Anthony White, a special education teacher at Pine Bush, decided to offer the holiday dinner to his students and their families. That was in his classroom. Now, it has grown tremendously and has become a happy tradition.
After dinner, there was no shortage of desserts to choose from.
In all, about 250 happy and thankful students and family members enjoyed this pre-Thanksgiving Day feast. And there were leftovers.
“We packed the firehouse fridge with Thanksgiving fixins’,” said Bartlett. “We look forward to this event each and every year.”
The tradition continues.