Gila Crossing hosted an early Christmas dinner for families
January 10, 2017
Gila River Indian News
Students at Gila Crossing Community School shared an early Christmas Dinner with their families in the school cafeteria Dec. 22.
The school has made a tradition of inviting people to share a meal around the holidays.
“We usually do it a couple times a year for Thanksgiving as well as Christmastime,” said GCCS Principal Jeremy Copenhaver. “The event is just kind of a way to say thank you to the community. We just want to invite them in, make good relations so they feel welcome here.”
By community he means “parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, even just someone that doesn’t have a student currently going here is still welcome to attend.”
They had a typical American Thanksgiving meal last month, he said, “but we tried to have something more culturally traditional here for our Christmas dinner.”
With music twinkling in the corner, families enjoyed a dinner of chili stew, chemath and squash. Barry Stein, the music teacher, provided live Christmas music with his electric piano.
In the weeks leading up to the dinner, students of all grade levels drafted letters to Santa, who, despite his busy schedule the week before Christmas, takes the time to visit Gila Crossing ever year .
“Usually he’ll make the trip because he knows that this is important for the kids,” said Copenhaver. “We had Santa today deliver all the gifts to our students. We have approximately a little over 500 students, Kinder through eighth grade. All of our students were able to receive gifts.”
Malakai DeLowe, first grade, received a Thor figurine for Christmas. His grandmother Arlene Johnson said she appreciated the school hosting the Christmas Dinner. She remembers going to the school when it was called Gila Crossing Day School.
“It’s grown a lot. I think it’s way better than it was back then,” she said. “I think it helps the kids. It’s good.”