Students at Tsé Bit A'í Middle School kicked off the Thanksgiving season with hard work and giving back by hosting a luncheon at the Shiprock Senior Center. Virginia Beyale’s gifted students, who are also members of the National Junior Honor Society, coordinated the event, donated many of the food items and some even received their Navajo Nation food handler’s permit in order to serve the food.
All 105 students donated items to the luncheon such as stuffing, marshmallows, corn, bread, desserts, brown sugar, yams, JELL-O, Navajo tea, potatoes, milk, packets of gravy, door prizes, cakes, pumpkin pies, cranberries, butter, plastic silverware and more. Beyale had 17 turkeys donated from her personal friends.
Seventeen students received their food handler’s permit from the Navajo Nation. They worked at the Senior Center from before 7 a.m. until the event was over after noon.
Lanae Billy and Arlyn Chee, both 8th graders at TBA, earned their food handler’s permit and were able to volunteer in the kitchen during the luncheon.
“It was a good experience,” Billy said. “I help cook at home but this was a lot of food! I cooked yams and mashed potatoes and also cut up onions for the stuffing we made.”
Chee also helped in the kitchen with the onions and the potatoes while also serving food and was as the caller for games of bingo.
“It was fun to serve for the native elders,” Chee said. “Some of them don’t have families and don’t have anyone to be with during Thanksgiving. At least they know now that we are there for them.”
Billy also enjoyed cooking for the elders and said “it was good for us to interact with the elders and to talk to them. It was good for use to learn how to talk to adults and be respectful.”
Billy and Chee both also are involved in sports at TBA, playing basketball and running track. Billy plays volleyball as well.