Pupils share feelings of gratitude with community
The "Albuquerque Turkey" wobbled across the hearts and minds of students, pastors and volunteers at Maranatha Academy on Thursday. First, second and third grade students warbled the tune for the school's annual Thanksgiving thank you to pastors a...
The "Albuquerque Turkey" wobbled across the hearts and minds of students, pastors and volunteers at Maranatha Academy on Thursday.
First, second and third grade students warbled the tune for the school's annual Thanksgiving thank you to pastors and volunteers.
Maranatha has hosted the Thanksgiving Dinner for about 15 years. It is held with Thanksgiving fundraisers for Samaritan's Purse and Pennies for Heysi. The event honors pastors, bus drivers and parent volunteers who help out at the school, said Connie Mack, teacher.
"It's fun because our pastors get to see our school and what we do in school," said fourth grader Meg Baillie.
For the dinner, students perform songs and recite poetry and Bible verses dressed as pilgrims and American Indians. The program is followed by a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Third grader Sahara Javner performed in her tan dress and braids.
It's fun, she said.
"It's just that you have to put some effort into it and stick with the team I guess," she said. "I think it's fun because our pastors can see it."
Javner's older sister, sixth grader Katie Javner, dressed in her pilgrim outfit to perform with the older students.
It's nice to perform songs and poetry as a thank you to the volunteers, Katie said.
"It's interesting to meet the different pastors and see who's from different churches," she said.
The same Thanksgiving-themed songs are often sung year after year.
Seeing the program is a treat for high schoolers because the program is always the same. "Albuquerque Turkey" is sung by the little kids every year, and the high schoolers sit back and sing along because they know all the songs, said junior Arianna Hill.
"We get to see all the kids grow up and see them do the same thing we did at their age," she said.
It's a tradition, said junior Angel Krisak.
The dinner is by invitation only, and parents are not necessarily among the people invited. Instead students perform Christmas and spring concerts for parents while the Thanksgiving program emphasizes the contributions of pastors and volunteers.
Pastors often volunteer at Maranatha to help out with the high schoolers' weekly chapel service.
The pastors appreciate the chance to come to Maranatha and meet one another, said the Rev. Chris Javner.
"I think its a great thing for the community," he said. The dinner brings together pastors from throughout the community to celebrate the relationship they have with the school and its students.
It's good for pastors get together to talk about what they're doing because they're working toward the same goals. The dinner helps to build relationships between pastors and that makes the community stronger, he said.
Maranatha is a unique school because it is nondenominational and brings together pastors and children from different churches.
The Rev. Nathan Sahlberg is on a council of pastors who pray for the school. He's attended the dinner for the past four years.
"It's always a real special time for the kids," he said.
Students enjoy dressing up as pilgrims and American Indians for the performance, Mack said.
American Indian costumes outnumber the pilgrim costumes 10-to-1 because it's easier to make an American Indian costume than a pilgrim costume, she said.
The secondary school girls' choir reversed the trend Thursday by sporting the black dresses white aprons of pilgrims.
All the performers had white aprons and decided to dress up at the last minute, Krisak said.
Third grader Nate Sahlberg dressed as an American Indian. His favorite part about the event was sitting down to eat after the performances, he said.
"I think it's pretty cool," he said.
Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for Sahlberg, who said he's already looking forward to his grandma's turkey and gravy next week.
It's good for volunteers and pastors to see what the students can do. Several people help out behind the scenes who are recognized through this event, Chris Javner said.
Students are glad for a chance to honor that service with their performing skills, Hill said.
"It's just to let them know we appreciate them and we're thankful for their support and prayers," she said. "It's a way to say thank you to them because they do so much for us."
Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail email@example.com .