St. Joseph Catholic High School parents hosted a Thanksgiving lunch honoring students, staff and teachers in the gymnasium of the 73rd Avenue campus Tuesday.

St. Joseph Catholic High School parents hosted a Thanksgiving lunch honoring students, staff and teachers in the gymnasium of the 73rd Avenue campus Tuesday.

The event was the brainchild of Pat Booth, whose 11th grade son Chuck Booth sang the National Anthem before the meal.

“We thought it was time for the families and the students to get together as a way for the parents to thank the students, teachers and staff at St. Joseph,” Booth said. “We are thanking these educators for their dedication to the students and thanking the students for their hard work. St. Joseph Catholic Church is something strong in the community providing an education for these students.”

“We have 60 students here and every parent has done something to make this meal possible,” Booth said. “Some have donated food, others have cooked. The students have helped cook and to carve the turkeys. Some of the dads have been frying turkeys.”

Principal Brenda Costello was impressed with how the event came together and pleased to see parents participating in the preparations.

“It has been a true community project,” Costello said. “This is the first year to do this and I think we’ll be doing it again. It really is a great idea.”

“Today we are turning the gym into a nice eatery and treating everyone to a special day,” Booth said. “This dinner is to celebrate and honor Thanksgiving but it is not just a time to celebrate and eat but to reflect on what God has done for us and to be thankful for it.”

Parent volunteer Precy Ramiro, whose son Mark Ramiro is a ninth grader at St. Joseph, was busily preparing the dessert table as people began to fill the serving line.

“This is a great day,” Ramiro said. “This is the first Thanksgiving lunch and we are pleased to be doing it. We are blessed that somebody is leading it and we are helping. We are excited and thankful.”

St. Joseph Athletic Director Matt Foss was impressed with how quickly the event was organized.

“This is good,” Foss said. “For a first year thing it seems like they have been at it for years.”

St. Joseph English teacher Clifford Heyer said that parental appreciation for their children was a good thing to see.

“It is great to see parents support the students like this,” Heyer said. “In this culture we tend to see parents not supporting their children enough so situations like this today restore one’s faith in the future.”

Ron Wauters, the father of ninth grader John Wauters and 11th grader Patrick Wauters, said that the idea for the lunch was an easy one to get behind.

“The idea for it just fit,” Wauters said. “Once it was brought up at a PTO meeting earlier this month, the response was that this was probably something that we should have been doing for a long time. There was no hesitation, it was just about how can we get this done? It really only took about 20 minutes to put together a game plan.”

“This is about letting the teachers and the children know that we appreciate them and their efforts,” Wauters said.

Father Warren Harvey, priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church, sees the lunch as a learning opportunity for the students.

“In reality this is a teaching moment for the kids,” Harvey said. “They will remember this for a long time. It will enhance their studies and allow them to reflect on what the Thanksgiving break is all about. If we can’t share a meal like this at school what does that mean for them at home?”

“I think it’s a great break and a time for the students to reflect on the powerful holiday that Thanksgiving is,” Harvey said. “It is not a religious holiday but we can use this week as a time to give thanks for what God has done for us in our lives. It is great that in spite of the problems in our society today and in spite of the wars that we are fighting, we can bring the parents and kids here to share a Thanksgiving meal.”