Special Person’s Day tradition continues at Seven Hills School | TheUnion.com

Special Person’s Day tradition continues at Seven Hills School

Not unlike Thanksgiving, Special Person’s Day at Seven Hills School has a long tradition — not more than 30 years, but at least 25 according to longtime sixth grade teacher Steve Belch, now retired.

Belch recalls that the event originated with an essay-writing project Jim McQuiston and he were planning. It was McQuiston who came up with idea of actually having an event to which the subjects of the essays were invited.

Special Person’s Day (SPD — it’s thought to be a coincidence that it shares its initials with the nearby store) is a classroom feast put on by the sixth grade honoring, as their guests, someone special in each of their lives. It is hosted the last school day before Thanksgiving, and the event is replete with invitation letters, art, thoughtfully crafted poetry, and essays presented orally during the event.

Elaborate place settings and dressing up have become part of the tradition.

Despite how special parents are, they are not eligible to be included. Along with many grandparents, those honored this year included coaches, siblings, aunts and uncles, former teachers, family friends and many more. Dasha Schaffer invited family friend Jerry Funk.

“It’s an honor to be here today and to get to spend time with Dasha and all the sixth graders and their special persons,” Funk said.

Christina Acuna, Isaiah Schofield’s aunt and special person, found the day to be, “Wonderful, heartwarming, and touching.” Isaiah commented that the day was, “Fun, and I am glad my Aunt Christa could come.”

“It was awesome, especially the students verbally expressing their feelings toward their special persons through their essays and poetry,” said Mike Pettengill, a seasoned teacher, but new to Seven Hill’s sixth grade.

The feast is potluck style, provided by the students, with all the traditional Thanksgiving entrees that you can imagine, but the food finale is pie, made by the students in class the day before. It’s an exercise in carefully reading directions and working cooperatively toward a final, tasty outcome.

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