Olathe East Students to Prepare Thanksgiving Feast

Nov. 13, 2012 ~ Students at Olathe East High School are planning a special holiday community meal this week at the school.

The Interpersonal Skills class is organizing a dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Nov. 15 in the freshman gymnasium. The class is a group of same age peers who work with special needs students to develop peer relationships and social communication skills.

For about a month, students in the class have been contacting patrons in the community to ask for donations to help offset the event's cost.

"The students write letters, make phone calls, gather and provide information from the community, all very important for social communication," Speech and Language Pathologist Valerie Gasser said. "Then the students (peers and special needs students) actually pick up the solicited donations and spend the week baking, cooking and preparing the feast for more than 100 people.

"All students involved learn about problem solving, written language, social language interaction."

"It's a more functional 'hands on' approach to learning," Amy Hill, Life Skills I and Interpersonal Skills Class teacher, said.

The students enjoy all aspects of the project.

"My favorite part of the Thanksgiving Feast is shopping with my peer mentor and eating the food," sophomore Austin Johnson said.