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Seniors Head Out Into Community as Annual Turkey Day Tradition Continues

November 20, 2023
By Lake Catholic

One of Lake Catholic’s longest-standing traditions continued Monday, Nov. 20, as the Class of 2024 participated in the 49th Annual Turkey Day.

What had started back in 1974 as a Thanksgiving feast for friends to enjoy each other as an entire class, has turned into much more for Lake Catholic students, as they live out one of the school’s core values – its willingness to serve.

“This is a very important day for our school and our senior class,” Mrs. Brandi Mandzak, a Theology teacher who coordinated the entire day, said to the seniors. “Everything you did today matters.”

The day started with a small prayer service, where there were prayers not only for the senior class but also for those who it was going to help. The seniors chose between 10 different service projects and headed out into the community. 

The groups headed to:

  • Lake Farmpark, where the students helped set up Christmas trees for breakfast with Santa and cleaned up the barns for when families go for country lights and horse races.
  • Outdoor YMCA in Perry, where they cleaned up the area by raking and blowing leaves and moving large tree branches.
  • Holden Arboretum, where they mulched 300 trees for protection during the winter.
  • Lake Humane Society, where they cleaned cages, swept the floor, mailed envelopes to donors, but most importantly got to play with the cats and dogs. 
    “It was so fun,” Hannah Pattie said. “I really enjoyed seeing all the little dogs and cats, and how their faces lit up when we were playing with them.”
  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank, where they sorted drinks and eventually packed 14,000 pounds of beverages.
  • Broadmoor School, where they worked and played with the children.
  • Karpos Ministry, where they baked desserts for Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless at St. Mary’s in Painesville. 
  • Willoughby Workshop, where they read to the adults there.
  • Grateful Giving, where students baked in the school’s Campus Ministry center that will be brought to first responders.
  • Project Hope, where the students, after a tour of the facility, made cards for the packed lunches that are handed out every day, as well as sorting donations and organizing their storage room.
    “It was wonderful to have so many kids writing messages of positivity to put in the lunches of the homeless to help encourage them as they leave for the day after staying the night,” said Bryan Bossert, the property manager at Project Hope.

When the students returned to school, there was an all-class mass in the Chapel with Fr. Andy Gonzalez.

They then all moved to the Atrium for a catered Thanksgiving feast, which was what Turkey Day started as back in the ‘70s. Lunch was served by some parents of the students, who also served as chaperones throughout the morning.

The day ended in silence in the Auditorium as each student had time to reflect on their day, what their service meant to the community, and how thankful they were to be able to help those who need it. 

“It really is a great day for all of us,” Pattie said. “I’ve never heard of other schools doing this kind of service for their communities. And it’s great that we can give back to places around here, keeping that connection with our entire community.”


All the pictures from today can be found on the Student Life / Traditions page of the website under Turkey Day.

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