Thanksgiving Traditions From Students and Staff at San Marcos High School


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With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought it would be interesting to interview some students and some staff members at San Marcos High School about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, foods, and recipes. I interviewed Mr. Young, a Spanish teacher at San Marcos, Mrs. Ochoa, an Intervention Support Specialist. I also talked to Rya Cummings, a junior at San Marcos. Stay tuned for each of their favorite Thanksgiving recipes!

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Mr. Young, a San Marcos Spanish teacher is very lucky to spend Thanksgiving with his family. His family gatherings usually consist of about 15 to 20 people. The gatherings are made up of his brothers, sisters in law, aunts, uncles cousins, nephews, and nieces. One of his favorite things to do on Thanksgiving is to spend time catching up with relatives that he has not seen in a while. This year, with a pandemic, they are trying to limit their contact with large groups of people so they’re going to have to be creative in how they change their traditions to adapt to the world we live in right now. Mr. Young‘s favorite Thanksgiving food is the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, although he and his wife have a Mexican-inspired spicy sweet potato cranberry dish which I will give directions on how to make below. Usually, Mr. Young and his family  go around the table and say what they are thankful for. Back when he was a kid, he’s sure he would’ve said things like soccer and coloring books. Now carrying on the tradition, the things he’s thankful for has changed to his children, his health and food on the table. He loves Thanksgiving. He loves the cooler air, the gathering around the table, the food, the friends, and the bustling children running around as well as the opportunity to stop and reflect on what really matters in life. 

Mr. Young and his wife’s Mexican inspired spicy sweet potato cranberry dish:

Mrs. Ochoa (Intervention Support Specialist)

Mrs. Ochoa the Intervention Support Specialist, her husband trade-off holidays every year. This year she will be at her in-laws home this Thanksgiving, and at her family’s home for Christmas. At Mrs. Ochoa’s holidays, there are too many people to count. They take turns eating dinner and rotate groups because there’s not enough seating. On Thanksgiving, her favorite thing to do is eat pumpkin pie. She could eat pumpkin pie any time of the year but she only eats it on Thanksgiving day. Mrs. Ochoa’s favorite Thanksgiving foods are pumpkin pie. Another one of Mrs. Ochoa’s favorite Thanksgiving foods are tamales. Mrs. Ochoa’s mother-in-law makes the best tamales but she only makes them for Thanksgiving. A Thanksgiving tradition that Mrs. Ochoa’s family takes part in is playing Loteria (Mexican style bingo). Then, the next day, they get a Christmas tree and decorate it together. Mrs. Ochoa’s favorite thanksgiving memory was when she was 13. Her mom had to make an emergency trip to Mexico and she let her spend the week with her friend who lives in the biggest and most amazing colonial style home she had ever seen. After dinner, everyone sat in the family room and took turns sharing what they were grateful for. They then laid down blankets and sleeping bags on the floor next to their fireplace and they watched Mrs. Doubtfire. The next day they had a wonderful breakfast and then she  helped decorate their Christmas tree. Mrs. Ochoa enjoys any event that brings family and friends together.

Mrs. Ochoa’s Churro Cheesecake Recipe:

Rya Cummings Junior at San Marcos

Junior Rya Cummings usually spends Thanksgiving with her family. There are about 30 people there. On thanksgiving, Rya hangs out with her cousins and eats the food. Her favorite Thanksgiving food is mashed potatoes and obviously the dessert. Her and her cousins like to help make the dessert every Thanksgiving. Rya loves Thanksgiving and she likes to see her cousins and family. A special Thanksgiving memory is when she got to go to Texas, she liked to be there with all of her family. Rya and her cousins help make cinnamon rolls every year for Thanksgiving brunch and she uses her aunt’s special cinnamon roll recipe.

Rya’s Aunt cinnamon roll recipe:

Thanksgiving is a special time of year, and it was exciting to learn about how different people at San Marcos celebrate their holidays!

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