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Thanksgiving Luncheon Lets Youth Progress Take the Spotlight

Thanksgiving can​ be hectic. With all the preparations involved, it can be hard to give kids the attention they deserve. At Boys Town Day School in Duncan, Nebraska, however, they’ve made Thanksgiving a time when kids are the center of attention.

Each year, the school hosts a Thanksgiving Luncheon, where students – and the progress they’ve made through the year – are the stars of the show.

This year, the lunch was held on Tuesday, the 24th and marked the fifth successful iteration of the event. Started as a way of bringing teachers, families, and students together, the lunch allows everyone a chance to connect in a more relaxed environment than during other social events.

The youth also love showing off how far they’ve come. “For many of our students and families, school has not been a positive experience in the past” says Susan Uhl, the school’s Director. The afternoon gathering lets them show that they can excel when given the proper care and attention.

The school provides the meal which, at about 100 attendees and growing, is quite an offering. Students serve as the hosts of the event, decorating tables, greeting guests as they arrive, and giving tours of the school. The middle schoolers even created a ‘thankful tree’ for the luncheon, displaying colorful leaves with expressions of gratitude written on them.

Also present at the event are some members of the student’s “home school”, or the school they attended before coming to work with Boys Town. Ideally, these teachers remain aware of the youth’s challenges and accomplishments while at the Boys Town Day School, so that if and when they return, they can continue being engaged in the youth’s progress.

Parents also love to talk about how the Boys Town Model has impacted youth behavior. Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, after all, and Uhl says that “families have been very thankful for our program and our staff, sharing how much better their student is doing and how it has a positive effect on their home lives as well.”

Boys Town wishes to express gratitude to the entire team at the Day School in Duncan for all of their hard work, as well as the community which has helped to make this year’s celebration another heart-warming success!