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Friendsgiving Celebrates Friendships and Cultures


Students enrolled in Gilbert’s International Program are from countries that do not celebrate America’s Thanksgiving holiday. The students enrolled in the program in America are thousands of miles away from their families back in their home countries. To give international students a sense of family and friendship, along with giving them (literally) a taste of what America’s Thanksgiving is like, the school, in conjunction with the W.L. Gilbert Trust, held its fourth annual Friendsgiving on Thursday, Nov. 21, held in the school’s cafeteria.

This year’s Friendsgiving meal included traditional Thanksgiving turkey, along with food from student’s home countries, including dumplings, pies and banana cake made by students in the program. International students all dined with local student ambassadors who are taking part in the international program, along with members of the Gilbert administration and the W.L. Gilbert Trust. “This is a time to celebrate friendship,” Trust member Thomas Botticelli said. “An event like this builds community. For these international students, it’s at least 10,000 miles or more from their home. It’s nice to give them a sense of family and community because it’s not that easy for anyone to be that far away.”

“For this event, the international students are coming together with the ambassadors from Winsted,” Principal Sue Sojka said. “It’s a way for the students here to share our American culture. Having this Friendsgiving is a way to expand everyone’s circle of friends. The ambassadors are the ones that are cooking the meal and serving it.” Mrs. Sojka added that the meal was very collaborative with many people involved in making it possible. “To me, the main thing is that you have gratitude and that you share with others that you are grateful,” Sojka said. “We are all grateful for everyone that they are all here.”