Fifth-graders host a traditional feast

Pizza, “mystery meat” and the usual fare were nowhere to be found at the La Cañada Elementary School on Friday as the place was transformed into a Thanksgiving scene fit for a pilgrim.

Pumpkins, fresh pomegranates and green branches with red holly berries colorfully decorated long tables. The meal included turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings.

Students sang songs with themes of gratitude and performed a skit, “The First Thanksgiving,” which pointed out that pilgrims had no sugar — and therefore no cranberry sauce — as well as other Thanksgiving facts.

The annual fifth-grade Thanksgiving Feast was created by students with enthusiastic help from parents and a supportive local caterer. A day earlier, students assembled at five stations to make trail mix and corn bread, decoratively wrap silverware and assemble the foliage centerpieces.

“What's nice is all the children and all the parents get together to make this happen,” said Tanya Pereira, a parent who was participating in her third fifth-grade feast.

Several school dignitaries attended, including La Cañada Unified School District Supt. Wendy Sinnette, assistant superintendents Mike Leininger and Patricia Hager, La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation president Paris Cohen, La Cañada Elementary School Principal Christine Castillo and school board member Susan Boyd.

“This was one of my favorite events when I was a parent, and it still is,” Boyd said.

“This is definitely the highlight of my year,” Cohen added.

Not only were students dressed in pilgrim or Native American-inspired costumes, but parents obliged, as well.

Fifth-grader Drake DiPaolo, 10, said the event made for an especially memorable Thanksgiving.

“Everyone gets to come together,” he said. “Everyone can talk to their friends. Everyone is here. Moms are here. Everyone likes dressing up. It’s fun.”

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