There was turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie. The students of Howe School of Excellence had all the fixings of a Thanksgiving feast in their school cafeteria after classes wrapped up Monday.
It’s the second year first-grade teachers Dani Avvisati and Chelsea Clar invited students and their families for a free meal at the public school in the South Austin neighborhood — a holiday celebration they hope becomes tradition.
“It’s important for us all year round to show these children and their families that we’re thankful to be working with them,” Clar said in a telephone interview before the event.
Bub City, a country-western-themed bar and restaurant in Near North, provided all the food and supplies last year after receiving the teachers’ requests for donations. The inaugural event was such a hit — more than 70 people showed up at the school, 720 N. Lorel Ave. — that this year Avvisati and Clar opened the event to students in preschool through second grade.
“We want to make sure that everyone can have the holiday experience — a Thanksgiving feast, just the feeling of togetherness,” Avvisati said in a phone interview.
About 140 people came to the school late Monday afternoon, so many that the line for food streamed out of the cafeteria and into the hallway. Bub City added fried turkey to its menu this year, which Avvisati said was a big hit.
The dinner helped build a stronger sense of community with the school and local families, Clar said, adding that she thinks when teachers and parents work together to educate children, it can help them grow more academically, socially and emotionally.
Families could take home pictures from the makeshift photo booth to remember the holiday. And a plate of tasty Thanksgiving leftovers too.
“We hope everyone leaves with thankful hearts, full stomachs and big smiles,” Avvisati said.