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Teachers and staff step up to the plate to serve students

December 29, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Rene Neely, left, helps her daughter, Carlita Neely, an eighth-grade student at J. Frank Faust Junior High School in Chambersburg, Pa., pick out a gift card on Wednesday during a Christmas dinner held in the gymnasium of King Street Church in Chambersburg.
Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Brenda Hoose had a lot on her plate — literally.

There was turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and dessert, just like a meal she'd enjoy in a restaurant.

But instead of chefs and waitresses, this dinner was prepared and served by her teachers.

Faculty and staff members from J. Frank Faust Junior High School in Chambersburg kept the holiday spirit going on Wednesday when they provided a meal for about 120 students and family members.

The dinner was held in the gymnasium of King Street Church in Chambersburg.

While many of their students were snug in their beds, the teachers were busy in the early morning hours basting turkeys, cooking roast beef and peeling potatoes.

The end result was a gift of food and camaraderie to their extended student family.

The idea originated with a silent auction, said Lisa Shaw, a teacher at Faust.

"Teachers had brought in items for the auction and we ended up raising about $750," she said. "That's when we decided we should use that money in a special way. We all agreed on a holiday dinner for our students."

Shaw said invitations were sent out to families and "the response was very good."

While this is the first year for the dinner, Shaw said it could possibly become an annual event.

"I think every year it would continue to grow," she said.

Julie Diehl, a teacher and chairwoman for the dinner, said the meal was made possible by a great deal of community support.

"We had vendors who donated food, drinks and paper products, as well as door prizes," she said. "Businesses and organizations were very generous."

The Alcolea family of Chambersburg were among those who attended Wednesday's holiday dinner.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," said Ilsa Alcolea, whose daughter attends J. Frank Faust Junior High School.

And it didn't surprise her that the faculty and staff would spend a day of their vacation preparing the meal.

"I think my daughter's teachers are very special," she said.  "They're good people."

Camille Ney of Chambersburg, said she received the dinner invitation in the mail and "thought it sounded like a good thing."

She sat down to the holiday dinner with family and friends — but without her son, who attends Faust.

"He wanted to stay home," she said. "So I'm enjoying a freshly-made meal while he's eating leftovers."

Student Brenda Hoose said "the meal was awesome."

"Everything was good. It was hard to have a favorite," she said.

Brenda said she appreciated what the school did for its students.

"It was a nice thing to do," she said. "I'm glad I came."

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