On Wednesday, Nov. 24, each student at the George Washington Carver Academy in Frankford climbed aboard his or her afternoon bus with something a little unusual: a frozen turkey. In the school’s ninth annual Turkey Drive, students of the former Richard Allen School (previously located in Georgetown) brought home some holiday cheer with free turkeys.
Assistant Principal Walter Smith Jr. developed the idea in 2000, when he noticed that the Allen School students began misbehaving in early November. So, he and the staff brainstormed over how to “ease some of the pains” that may come with the holiday season. “For some of us, it’s a happy time, and for some it’s sad. …We know that’s real.”
They agreed to give all of the students a turkey for Thanksgiving, with the aim to bring families together with a meal.
Smith was quick to cite the hard work of the academy’s staff and the community’s support in the venture. A dozen local businesses, politicians and private individuals provide for the Turkey Drive.
“We couldn’t do this without our community partners. They’ve come through,” Smith emphasized.
With each of the school’s 60 students receiving a turkey provided by Hocker’s, the value of the gesture approximates $600.
The G.W. Carver Academy comprises students formerly from the Richard Allen School, an alternative school, now housed in what was Frankford Elementary School. Though portions of the building are still undergoing renovations, the students and staff have a lot to be thankful for this year.
Citing amenities the Allen School in Georgetown lacked, Smith said, “We have a cafeteria; we have a gym. We take pride in what we have. This is something.”
In such a tough economy, the turkey drive helps the students, as well as their families. Smith explained that some parents really rely upon the program to help make the holiday.
“This is something our families really look forward to,” he said.
Although they may have troubles, the students have “a uniqueness,” said Smith. “This is just a little token of us saying, ‘We care.’”