YONKERS N.Y. ‒ Chicken wings, rice and beans, spaghetti marinara, pulled pork, egg rolls, fried plantains and, of course, glazed turkey were just a few of the items on the menu for a multicultural Thanksgiving feast at Yonkers' Robert C. Dodson School.
The school hosted its third annual Thanksgiving celebration for sixth- through eighth-grade students Tuesday. The buffet-style meal was provided by school families and faculty and included dishes from around the world. Most of the faculty, many parents and even Yonkers Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio attended.
The event was created to foster an understanding and appreciation of different cultures, said principal Tiara Reyes-Vega.
"My philosophy is putting it forward, and giving back to those who are less fortunate ties in perfectly to that," said Reyes-Vega. "We're a bilingual Hispanic school, so I wanted to give our students a chance to experience different foods. I believe that the more a person is surrounded by something, the more they will have an appreciation for it."
Edward Bangari, 12, sat down to an overflowing plate and said he was determined to try everything on the menu.
"Everything is really good, and I'm someone who knows good cooking," said Bangari. "We've all been looking forward to this day for a really long time, and everything was put together so good. Everything tastes so good that I can't pick a favorite. I just want to keep eating."
Many of the students in the seventh-grade section, including Martin Alfaro, 12, were debating which dish tasted best.
“I don’t have to think about it, the lasagna is my favorite,” said Alfaro. “Well, now that I think about it the pork is really good, too. I’ve been eating so much, and we didn’t even get dessert yet. It doesn’t matter, with food this good, there’s always room for more.”
Pierorazio made a special visit to the school to talk about Thanksgiving and then help serve students their meals.
'Thanksgiving is a very American holiday, so what could be better than experiencing the cultures that make it up," said Pierorazio. "Later tonight, when you're lying in your bed, think about everyone who works to make your life better and be thankful for them. I'm here not to eat, but to serve you Thanksgiving dinner!"