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The Gift of Gratitude

Daniel Ho

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Chef Pedro Martinez of the cafeteria kitchen staff served a Thanksgiving meal to students of SJCC in the Student Center at the Thanksgiving Evening of Student Appreciation on Nov. 23.

SJCC’s Associated Students hosted their annual Thanksgiving Evening of Student Appreciation Feast feeding more than 200 students, faculty and staff.

Smooth jazz played while a projection of a fireplace digitally warmed room 204 in the Student Center as the campus community gathered to converse, eat, and share in the holiday festivities as part of the annual Thanksgiving Evening of Student Appreciation.

The event, hosted by the Associated Students, served more than 200 students, faculty, and staff  who enjoyed each others company while dining on a Thanksgiving meal prepared by Chef Pedro Martinez of SJCC’s cafeteria kitchen staff on Nov. 23.

The first Evening of Student Appreciation started six years ago with the SJCC AS hosting four dinners per year, said AS Region IV Representative Kelli Melocik.

The complimentary Thanksgiving dinner served as a way to recognize the work of the college’s students while also providing an event to let those without Thanksgiving plans celebrate.

“Some students don’t have plans for Thanksgiving Day, so it’s nice to be able to share (the holiday) with others at school,” said 27-year-old future Interior Design major Ana Gonzalez.  “I will be at work this Thanksgiving.  I volunteered to work for a Thanksgiving Dinner in San Francisco last year.  It feels good to have the favor returned here.”

Ricardo Vizcarra, 32-year-old Business major, added that “you never really know the situations of other students,” commenting on how great it was to have so many people from the campus come together.  Vizcarra spoke of how his Thanksgiving has become a difficult time for his family over the past two years because of the passing of his mother during the holiday.  He appreciated the company and support of his peers.

Director of Activities Mike Casas reiterated the purpose of the dinner as appreciation and acknowledgment of the students’ hard work.   The AS donated $2500 to prepare the food and decorations, said Casas.

Martinez solely prepared and served turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, warm dinner rolls, steamed vegetables, and pumpkin pie to the hungry attendees of the feast.

“I just came from three back-to-back night classes and didn’t have dinner yet,” said Tabitha Newsom, a 30-year-old Education Major.  “I was glad to have the meal.”

Students helped cleanup after the event ran out of plates and many headed home to begin their four-day Thanksgiving break full of turkey, pumpkin pie and the laughter and merriment of their peers.

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The Gift of Gratitude