PURCHASE LINE: Thanksgiving dinner helps students learn life skills
November 22, 2013 11:00 AM
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PURCHASE LINE — During the holidays, it isn’t uncommon to hear hustle and bustle when Thanksgiving dinner comes near.

In the specialized vocational skills class at Purchase Line High School, the students had taste of what it’s like to create a Thanksgiving dinner.

Each year, the class invites the Purchase Line faculty, elementary classes and food donors to their annual Thanksgiving meal, which this year was served on Wednesday.

[PHOTO: Students in Purchase Line High School’s specialized vocational skills class hosted a Thanksgiving meal Wednesday. Michael Grimh, second left, and Courtney Murdick, third left, served a sweet potato casserole and corn to their classmates, faculty, administrators and staff.  (Christy Tiger/Purchase Line High School) Also, Purchase Line High School’s band seniors were honored during the football game against Saltsburg on Oct. 25. Pictured are, at front, Anna Harkleroad; second row, from left, Ashley Karlinsey, Samantha Junod and Jacqueline Patton; and third row, Zachary Jennings, Cassandra McCoy, Koren McCullough and Guy Patton.  (Rachel Phillips/Purchase Line High School photo)]

Last year, 85 people were served by the students in their classroom.

Originally, the meal was created for the students in the classroom, but as staff, family and friends began donating to the class, it was decided that the donors should be invited to the meal.

Not only did the meal give all of the students the chance to have a Thanksgiving dinner in celebration of the holiday, it also taught them many skills needed for post-graduation.

In fact, Ashlee Bish, special-education teacher, said, “It’s for the kids’ learning because the students do all of the cooking and include social skills, math, reading, cooking, kitchen safety and proper procedure skills.”

Earlier on in the year, the students kept a list in the high school office for anyone to sign up to have their vehicle detailed by the life skills class. The class would not accept money, so instead they asked for donations for the dinner. By the time the meal preparation began, all of the food was generously donated.

Linda Learn, instructional aid, said, “I like to see the students learn how to do the dinner and they truly get excited about the project.”

The class began preparing turkeys Nov. 4. Nearly every day until the meal was served on Wednesday, the students had been working on other components of the meal.

Linda Snyder, a personal care aide, said, “I hope to see the students learn skills needed to get a job and how to work with other people.”


The Purchase Line Marching Red Dragons will be traveling to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., over Easter break for the Magic Kingdom Parade on April 22.

The marching band will leave Easter Sunday and spend the whole week in Florida.

While in Florida, the marching band students will get to attend four Walt Disney World theme parks: the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Every three years the band has the option to apply. The steps in applying are filing out an application and sending a video of the band playing during a parade.

“I’m excited about it,” said junior Cassandra Boring, who plays clarinet.

“I’ve never done the Disney Parade before and I know it’s a big honor to get into it.” 

The marching band has been looking forward to going to Florida all season. They started fundraising during band camp. They held their annual frozen food, Gardners candy and fruit sales.

Each student that sold items will get their profit put in their personal band accounts to help pay their way to Florida.

This summer, music teacher and band director Rebecca Bracken did some research to see what other fundraisers the marching band could do to help students raise funds for the trip.

She found that other schools that go to the Disney Parade hold a musicians’ carnival.

On Saturday, at Purchase Line High School, the marching band will hold their first musicians’ carnival, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $5, and children 3 and younger are admitted free.

All of the marching band members that are working the carnival will get money in their account.

The Band Boosters will take the money raised and divide by the number of students who were there and working.

Events at the musicians’ carnival include a tuba cornhole competition, Guitar Hero, karaoke, uniform dress up, and learning to play drums, spin a flag and play an instrument.

Prizes will be awarded and snacks will be sold by the Band Boosters.

Members of the Purchase Line community are invited to come out and support the Marching Red Dragons at Saturday’s event. 


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