Special education students cook annual Thanksgiving feast

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. ― When teacher Ellen McLeod serves a Thanksgiving meal, she and her special education students at Bell Intermediate School invite over a few close friends – more than 200 of them.


For the past 33 years, McLeod and the students have created a traditional Thanksgiving feast that warms the heart by forging relationships and satisfying the most hearty of appetites. What began as a modest classroom activity in 1979 snowballed into a free event bringing together students, parents, all school employees, and fortunate district office representatives.


This year’s celebration takes place Friday in the multipurpose room at Chapman Hettinga Education Center, 11852 Knott St., Garden Grove, which is Bell Intermediate’s temporary location for the current school year.


Under the direction of McLeod, assisted by retired teacher Bruce Newberg, seven classroom aides and 14 special education students will prepare every dish from scratch in the classroom. The event is a daunting task requiring 15 turkeys for roasting, 100 pounds of yams, 80 pounds of green beans, 100 pounds of red potatoes, plus hefty portions of stuffing, cornbread with honey butter, and cranberry punch. Dessert features freshly baked apple and pumpkin pies.


The students are responsible for all decorations, invitations, cooking, and serving as hosts and hostesses for the lunchtime event. They also redeem aluminum cans to pay for the food supplies with assistance from local merchants including Jons Marketplace and Smart & Final.


The annual Thanksgiving gathering is a labor of love for the teacher and her students ― an event they look forward to with anticipation every year.


“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,” McLeod says. “There are no expectations about gift giving. It’s all about sharing and, besides, I love to cook.”


 


Báo Người Việt hoan nghênh quý vị độc giả đóng góp và trao đổi ý kiến. Chúng tôi xin quý vị theo một số quy tắc sau đây:

Tôn trọng sự thật.
Tôn trọng các quan điểm bất đồng.
Dùng ngôn ngữ lễ độ, tương kính.
Không cổ võ độc tài phản dân chủ.
Không cổ động bạo lực và óc kỳ thị.
Không vi phạm đời tư, không mạ lỵ cá nhân cũng như tập thể.

Tòa soạn sẽ từ chối đăng tải các ý kiến không theo những quy tắc trên.

Xin quý vị dùng chữ Việt có đánh dấu đầy đủ. Những thư viết không dấu có thể bị từ chối vì dễ gây hiểu lầm cho người đọc. Tòa soạn có thể hiệu đính lời văn nhưng không thay đổi ý kiến của độc giả, và sẽ không đăng các bức thư chỉ lập lại ý kiến đã nhiều người viết. Việc đăng tải các bức thư không có nghĩa báo Người Việt đồng ý với tác giả.

Viet Stories exhibit to close

Titi Mary Tran YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Viet Stories, an exhibit that highlights the accomplishments, hardships and experiences of Vietnamese Americans, will end May 28 and faces an uncertain future. The exhibit, which began Feb. 17, is at the Richard Nixon...

The Quiet Vietnamese Mothers: an untold story

Mothers rarely receive the recognition they deserve. The same for my mother, who grew up with and survived the war in Vietnam.

The path to the perfect wedding dress is filled with sparkles, ‘con artists’ and A-Lines

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English The time for the wedding dress has come. After the reception and ceremony, the wedding dress probably is one of the most difficult items to find and one of the most expensive wedding costs the...

Wedding planning journal first page: Budget and Location

Wedding planning can be very stressful and overwhelming. A journal to planning a wedding in Orange County, California.

Traditional meals for Tet

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English Tet, the Vietnamese celebration of the Lunar New Year, is this weekend - Friday through Sunday.  Relatives from overseas and out of states are arriving to visit loved ones and gather around their "anchored"...

Little Saigon prepares flower market for Tet 2018

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English WESTMINSTER, Calif. (NV) - When the sun sets on Thursday, owners of flower shops and Tet's games and trucks start pouring in Asian Garden Mall, preparing for the opening of Tet's flower market Friday,...

When going to the market is not a chore, but a joy

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English ANTONY, France (NV) - If going to the grocery market is a daily chore, a number of reasons would spring to mind: not enough time, two many options, ingredients are tasteless, generic modified food,...

Dual-language program hailed by parents, community

Don Luong’s son won’t enter kindergarten until the fall of 2019, but he’s already starting to think about his educati

Stephane Gauger, noted Vietnamese American director, die

Stephane Gauger, a Vietnamese American director known for his work in films including “Owls and Sparrows” and “Saigon Electric,” died Wednesday of heart failure. He was 48.

Contest updates:

The drawing and writing contest announcement has been sent to 5 school districts around Little Saigon.