For about 20 Phoenix School culinary students, preparations to feed a Thanksgiving feast to 200 students and staff would not be complete without a trip to the school’s garden. Picking herbs from the garden was among the tasks needed to be finished before Tuesday’s big event.

“This event shows that no matter where we come from and what we do with our lives, we always end up at the same spot, which is at the table eating,” said senior Shyli Prowell. “I always relate everything to food.”

Besides this luncheon, the entire school eats breakfast and lunch daily on long tables at one time in one room, which Shyli attributes to enhancing the family atmosphere at the school, instead of dividing lunches as other schools do.

“We are like our own little community, like a family,” Shyli said. Her class won first place for the Golden Turkey Award for the best decorated table this year.

For about the last decade, the Golden Turkey Award has been passed down year after year to the classmates who decorate their tables the best. The top three winners get to stand in the buffet line first for the Thanksgiving meal.

Eighth-grader Karin Russell liked the school’s eating rituals because “at some point everybody is always together,” she said. Karin, who also helped decorate Skyli’s table, enjoyed working as a team to decorate her table to win the award.

Karin was thankful for her Phoenix instructor John Jenkins and said, “He is one of the teachers who helps students a lot.”

GED and career readiness instructor Jenkins said he appreciates the luncheon because some students come from split families and don’t get to experience a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with family coming together at home.

“For some kids it’s good practice for being thankful and preparing them to go to that family Thanksgiving Day event and participate,” Jenkins said. “For some who don’t have a dinner at home, this is it, this is the big show.”

The entree included baked turkey and ham with spices from the school garden, homemade stuffing, real mashed potatoes and yams, and a green bean casserole, all prepared by culinary students with about three kitchen staff members helping.

Senior Corby Busch was part of the culinary class that helped for two days to prepare the meal. He liked the feast because “it brings us all together and it makes us thankful for what we have and more thankful to be sitting along side each other while learning the same things.”

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at

(1) comment


I like this celebration. It shares happiness all over the country. And I try to do the same at my channel to be useful and share happiness.

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