BCOPE students give thanks for feast, each other

By Tanya Mitchell | Nov 22, 2012
Photo by: Tanya Mitchell BCOPE Coordinator Gary Skigen carves the turkey during the school's Thanksgiving celebration Friday, Nov. 16.

Belfast — Belfast Community Outreach Program in Education (BCOPE) held a community Thanksgiving dinner Friday, Nov. 16, where district staff and members of the community were treated to a turkey feast and words of thanks from a few of the students.

BCOPE Coordinator Gary Skigen said the school has held the holiday meal for at least eight years, and thanked BCOPE culinary instructor Mandi Sawyer and BCOPE teachers Dolly Sullivan and Kathy Hutchings for spearheading the event this year.

Skigen said that, as the culinary arts instructor, Sawyer chooses students from each of her classes to help prepare the meal, and selects additional students to assist with cleanup.

Once the youths and their guests got seated, BCOPE students Raven Smith and Amber St. Pierre delivered a welcome to the guests who attended the event, including Regional School Unit 20 Central Office staff and Waldo County Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton.

"We are thankful to be able to share this meal with the guests that are here with us today," said Smith.

"We are also thankful to share this meal as a family, that is what BCOPE is all about, bringing people from different backgrounds together and closer. We act like a family," added St. Pierre. "I hope you all enjoy the time we have taken to share with you."

Skigen said maintaining that supportive environment is especially important this year, because so many students graduated last year and most of the school's 40 students are new to BCOPE.

"We really are a family," said Smith. "If we don't get along with somebody, we always try to work on our differences."

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