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Canyon Oaks High School Staff Serve Thanksgiving Dinner to Students

Canyon Oaks High School and Mountain Park staff served about 160 students a Thanksgiving dinner featuring turkey, a host of side dishes, and pumpkin and apple pies, all in honor of a 10-year tradition that celebrates community, perseverance and kindness.

"Our teachers really care about us because they don't have to prepare this awesome meal, but they do," senior Justin Cardona said. "It gives me and I'm sure, everyone else here, a more positive outlook."

The tradition began when current Monrovia High School Associate Principal Fil Lujan, who was a Canyon Oaks teacher at the time, discovered that almost half of his class had never enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal, so he decided to cook a turkey for his students. Soon, everyone was joining in.

Flint Fertig, Director of Alternative Programs and Adult Education, said that it is about more than just the meal.

"It shows, truly, how much we care about the students and their educational experience, their emotional experience and their overall well-being," Fertig said. "We are a small school, but we have a strong community that cares about its students."

Community volunteers, retired staff, Board of Education President Ed Gililland, Board Vice President Rob Hammond and Board Member Selene Lockerbie all pitched in to help serve students a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

"This is what being a part of a community is all about, especially in education; parents, teachers, staff and administration coming together to support our students," Board of Education President Ed Gililland said.

After the meal, staff took leftovers to Union Station and donated to the homeless.

"Monrovia Unified School District believes students thrive in an environment of support, not only academically, but emotionally, and Canyon Oaks exemplifies this thoroughly," Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. "We are thankful for our staff and volunteers who give their time to show our students are valued members of the school community."

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

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