Marty Walton, left, converses with The Middle School of the Kennebunks eighth-grader Keegan MacKenzie during the school’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for seniors last Wednesday.

Marty Walton, left, converses with The Middle School of the Kennebunks eighth-grader Keegan MacKenzie during the school’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for seniors last Wednesday.

KENNEBUNK — Eighth-grade students from The Middle School of the Kennebunks shared warm smiles, stories and a hearty Thanksgiving meal with senior citizens on Nov. 18.

The event, an International Baccalaureate service project that has been going on for about 20 years, drew more than 400 people to the school’s cafeteria for a late-morning Thanksgiving meal, live music and games.

More than 400 people attended The Middle School of the Kennebunks’ annual Thanksgiving dinner for seniors put on by the school’s eighth-graders last Wednesday.

More than 400 people attended The Middle School of the Kennebunks’ annual Thanksgiving dinner for seniors put on by the school’s eighth-graders last Wednesday.

Senior citizens from the area and afar, including many of the students’ grandparents, were invited to the event.

“We have (seniors) here who maybe don’t have young people in their lives to have a family dinner with,” said math teacher Sharon Greenglass, who along with another teacher was in charge of the event. “It’s all just a big eighth-grade community service project.”

All of the school’s eighth-grade students lent a hand in making the event happen, she said, whether by making decorations, getting the word out to the community, providing live entertainment or serving drinks.

Students’ parents made the desserts, said Greenglass, and one parent even made more than 380 rolls for the event. Representatives from Biddeford Savings Bank, which sponsored the event, were on hand to serve the many breads, cookies, pies and pastries.

Perhaps the most enriching aspect of the event was interviews between the students and seniors, which prompted the young teenagers to ask seniors questions about their childhood and young adult years. Some of the questions included “Do you remember a historic event that happened when you were in school?” and “What was your first job?”

“(The students) learn a lot about the seniors and the seniors learn a lot about the kids, too,” said Greenglass. “They might think 13-year-olds are kind of obnoxious skateboarders but they find that they’re very talented. We try to have it pretty much run by the kids. We’re just the facilitators.”

Margaret Silva, who traveled from Massachusetts and was sitting with her granddaughter Emma Enis, lauded the job the students did to organize and host the event.

“I’ve been to a few of these before in Mass., and trust me, Kennebunk kids have surpassed all of New England,” she said with a laugh. “To me the biggest impression was the politeness and understanding of the students.”

Student Keegan MacKenzie also gave the event high praise.

“I learned a lot of new things. It’s a great event to meet new people,” he said, breaking from a conversation with Marty Walton, who came to see her grandson Andrew but also ended up conversing a lot with Keegan, whose grandparents were unable to make it.

Walton said she was glad she attended the event.

“I wouldn’t have gotten to know Keegan otherwise,” Walton said with a smile.

— Staff Writer Angelo J. Verzoni can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or [email protected]


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