Thanksgiving tradition at Bijou School

       The Bijou School continued its annual tradition of a student-led Thanksgiving feast and potluck Nov. 16.
       Scores of community members - including several District 11 administrators, board members and parents - joined Bijou students and staff in gobbling from seven turkeys and numerous side dishes and desserts in a buffet line, with students doing the serving.
       The potluck items, as a rule, are “mostly from the students, but we all bring something,” said Wayne Hutchison, principal of the district's alternative high school for 135 students at 730 N. Walnut St.
       The event got its start at Thanksgiving more than 10 years ago, when Bijou had a student “with aspirations to be a chef,” Hutchison recalled. The student prepared the entire meal for about 200 people and “orchestrated everything.”
       No student was quite that ambitious in the years that followed, but the spirit carried on and evolved to what it is today, he explained.
       Another part of the tradition is to cook one turkey at the school “to give a Thanksgiving smell to the place,” as he put it. The other six birds are cooked at staffers' homes. “So we're all up at midnight cooking turkeys. I know I was,” Hutchison laughed.

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