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Nov 28, 2023

Scholar Friendsgiving 2023

By Sasha Surkin, Class of 2025

**As you read, listen to “Deux Arabesques CD 74 by Claude Debussy**

On the eve of Thanksgiving break, Luther Hodges Scholars gathered around the table (multiple tables chaotically moved together), tucked in (put paper towels on their laps), and dined with friends and made new ones.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect, give thanks, and be in each other’s friendly company to be mindful of everything we have to be grateful for. This marked the first of many future Friendsgiving events that brought scholars together to foster more connections between their own class and in others. For some, it was their first “traditional” Thanksgiving meal, complete with green beans, turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and vegan alternatives. The fan favorite was definitely the apple and pecan pie. Will Ballenger brought up the much-debated question, “What is the first kind of pie you think of when someone says pie?” Regardless of the answer, little topics like this brought smiles and warmth to an otherwise frigid day in November.

As one of the organizers planning this event, I knew that gathering around a table of food is powerful method of bringing people together in a low-pressure and easy environment. While planning it with catering food for many people was stressful, it resulted in an event that made it completely worthwhile. (I am, however, still scrubbing stuffing bits from between mu countertops and finding the odd green bean in my oven). The food was warmed in a scholar’s apartment’s common area, ultimately with attending scholars leaping to help assemble the food and bring it to the common area.

This kind of community and desire to help one another made me realize that, yes, having good food was important, but having the amazing company is what made the event so rich in smiles and warmth. Nearing the end of the main meal and close to when we would crack open the pies, everyone went around the table to state what they were grateful for. This included the Luther Hodges Scholars Program for bringing all of us together, the incredible folks who run the program (shoutout to Keith, Dr. Allen, Phil, and Tya!), as well as being thankful for our families, friendships, and the ability to gather together.

In the spirit of knitting our community a little bit closer, Scholars, join us at the end-of- year event on December 5th for LHS swag and yummy goodies! And to the new sophomores, if you see me in McColl, please say hello! I cannot wait to meet you.

Be well,

Sasha Surkin, LHS ‘25

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