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This year’s Refugee Thanksgiving celebration - our 7th Annual - had all of the features from previous year’s celebration, and MORE.

 

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Among the highlights:

  • A mix of refugee students, their families, faculty, alums and folks from the community. This year we were pleased to have members from Congresswoman Jan Schakowski in attendance.
  • A wonderful array of food - traditional Thanksgiving turkey, potatoes and gravy be Twlight Kitchen caterers; burritos from South of the Border restaurant; Ethiopian cuisine and incredible injera bread donated by Ethiopian Diamond); beef kabob wraps from Habibi Inn (Evanston), and three giant sized pizzas donated by JB Albertos.
  • Speeches and words of welcome from English Learners Head Sarah Quintenz, Friends of Sullivan President Mike Glasser, Sullivan Principal Jeff Cooks, and several Sullivan students.
  • At least two dozen hands raised when Glasser asked the crowd: “For how many of you is this your first Thanksgiving.” How exciting to share our tradition with our newest members of our community.
  • Two beautiful songs performed by students
  • A memorable and poignant video prepared by refugee social workers Josh Zepeda.

Whereas videos made for previous celebrations interviewed a range of Sullivan immigrant students - and offered us glimpses into their past and present lives, this year Mr. Zepeda took a much different tone this year.

Zepeda told the story of one student - Sarai, a brave and expressive 17 year old Venezuelan who shares with us the incredible and perilous journey that she and her family experienced fleeing Venezuela, and making their way to Chicago.

With it being a Thanksgiving video, prepare yourself for wonderful expressions of gratitude from this special young woman.

It’s well worth watching. Thanks Josh, Sarai and other students who helped create this video for your incredible work.

Preview YouTube video 7th Annual Friends of Sullivan Thanksgiving: Sarai's Story