A group of 10 students at the Area Cooperative for Educational Support have been using skills learned in the classroom over the past few weeks to plan and prepare a special Thanksgiving meal.
About 50 guests attended the annual luncheon Tuesday in the basement fellowship hall of the United Methodist Church downtown.
Though the actual food preparation took only a couple of days, the students spent a good deal of time learning the ins and outs of organizing a large-scale, sit-down dinner.
For instance, they had to estimate portion sizes and translate that into how much food needed to be purchased.
They also researched recipes; planned the menu; and created hand-made table decorations that included waffle cone cornucopias, centerpieces shaped like leaves and written messages listing things they were thankful for.
"They really do the whole thing," said ACES director Debbie From. "I mean all of it. They look forward to it so much and enjoy doing it."
ACES students have been holding a Thanksgiving meal since 2005 but only began inviting guests two years ago.
Students showed up at the church at 6 a.m. Tuesday to begin peeling potatoes and cooking two turkeys and a ham.
And of course there was dessert. Students made pies and other confectionary delights, along with all of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings.
From voiced special thanks to the church for hosting the event. In addition, Today's Civic Women donated funds to pay for the meal.
"We really appreciate all of the help we get," From said. "It is so nice of the church and TCW to allow this to happen."
ACES staff members Tammy Oltman and Beth Goudge also played instrumental roles.
"They take care of all the planning and helping the kids," From said. "The students really appreciate their help too."