The Serra library was filled with cheery faces and the smell of Thanksgiving in the air last Friday night.
More than 70 international students from Notre Dame and Serra, along with their host families, gathered to share a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Organized by Serra International Program Director Keticia Danish, the night began with a quick history lesson. Danish explained that the Thanksgiving feast began during the early 1600s, when pilgrims and Indians shared a meal in the new American colonies.
Serra and Notre Dame Assistant Principals MaryBeth Ortiz and Carolyn Hutchins followed with a Thanksgiving prayer.
Host families contributed traditional side dishes of yams, green bean casserole, creamed corn, bread rolls and pies. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing were supplied by Serra alumnus Gabe Esposto '95, owner of Esposto's Catering.
"It was exciting to see the cultures and families coming together as one," Ortiz noted.
For many of the international students, this was their first taste of Thanksgiving classic American dishes.
Serra junior Jacky Wong said, "I thought the history of Thanksgiving was pretty interesting, and I really liked the turkey and mashed potatoes! I will be going to a cabin in the mountains with my host family for Thanksgiving. I'm really looking forward to it."
After dinner, host families had a brief meeting while the students played games.
"We truly enjoyed the evening," said host parent Kathy Roque Albert. "It was great that the international students experienced a traditional Thanksgiving. We also liked meeting the other host families, and sharing ideas and stories."
On the fourth Thursday of November, most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Now, our international students will have a deeper understanding of the classic American holiday when they celebrate next week with their host families.
According to Danish, "This event highlights what Serra's International Program is all about - sharing cultures and traditions, celebrating together and supporting our students and homestay families. I was so happy with the turnout and sense of community that is developing for the students and families. I'm looking forward to more events like this in the future."
Click here to view slideshow