On the eve of her performance in the Carrabelle Nest Thanksgiving play, Layla Chisolm was having an identity crisis.

Like her fellow actors in “The Meal Must Go On,” Chisolm was decked out head to toe as a favorite Thanksgiving side dish.

Crinkled white paper expertly fastened to her torso mimicked a heaping pile of luscious mashed potatoes, nestled atop an unassuming brown bowl, fashioned from craft paper. On her head, a pile of fluffy cotton balls topped by a buttery square of yellow foam completed the look. But even in all her spud-like splendor, Chisolm could not stop her classmates from calling her a dish that would never grace even the humblest Thanksgiving table. She was not, By Squanto!, a bowl of popcorn!

Chisolm could not trouble herself with these taunts. At show time, she joined classmates Kayleigh Revell, Charlee Winchester, Trinity Barron and Destanie Proctor. Sure, they were dolled up like cranberry sauce, turkey, pumpkin pie and stuffing, but she was the star of this show.

When the actors began the play by each boasting to be the best Thanksgiving dish, Chisolm seized her moment. “Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without me! Mashed potatoes are always everyone’s favorite!”

 Chisolm’s prideful performance was just one of the many highlights of The Nest’s two-day Thanksgiving celebration. The Nest, a Franklin County School District 21st Century after-school program, staged back-to-back parent nights on Nov. 15 and 16, which combined food, fun and family.

Carrabelle Nest students performed a medley of song and dance numbers, including the Turkey Pokey, for parents and classmates. Patrick Tipton narrated “The Meal Must Go On!,” a reader’s theatre play, which featured Cheyenne Lawson, Haiden Parks, Brianna Sanders, Larry Winchester, September Ferrell, Alexis Parks, Jada Allen and Jorden Carnes as Thanksgiving dinner hosts and houseguests.

The Eastpoint Nest staged an ambitious Thanksgiving dinner, with students cooking and sharing their meal with their families. Students traveled from room-to-room, cooking cranberry sauce, vegetable stir-fry, turkey and ham sandwiches and pumpkin pie in a cup.

At each cooking station, led by Nest staff members, the students earned a stamp featuring their dish, which they colored and glued to their Thanksgiving brochure’s empty place setting. By the end of the program, each student and their family members assembled a complete meal and rated each dish using a score of “Yummy,” “Just Okay,” and “Gross.”

The pumpkin pie in a cup scored the most Yummies. If you want to make it at home, just layer in a cup crushed graham crackers and vanilla pudding mixed with pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, and top with a scoop of Cool Whip. Delicious!

The families all enjoyed the interactive meal. The Nest would like to thank all the families who donated ingredients for the Eastpoint meal and snacks for the Carrabelle play.

To read more about the Nest’s Thanksgiving activities, visit the program website, www.franklincountynest.org. Students in grades Pre-K-8th grade are eligible to attend The Nest, and applications are available from the website, Franklin County School and Franklin County Learning Center.

Despina Williams is project coordinator for The Nest. a 21st Century Community Learning Center administered by the Franklin County School District.

A good teacher is a great blessing to any child. Students at the Eastpoint Nest showed some love to the Franklin County School and Franklin County Learning Center teachers, thanking them for their kindness, attentiveness, and let’s not forget, candy.


Dear Mrs. Ham,

I am so thankful you are my teacher again. You are special to me. You have a soft voice. I love it when you give us free time.


Cole Polous


Dear Mrs. Gibson,

I am so thankful you’re my teacher. You’re special to me because you make math playful. We get cookies and drinks in math. We use fake money to pay for them. I love when we do limbo to get the wiggles out. You are very sweet and you are the best teacher.


Emily Smith


Mrs. Sasnett,

I am thankful for you.


Sy Bartlett


Dear Mrs. Demsey,

I am thankful you are my teacher.


Malichi Rivera


Mrs. King,

I am thankful you are my teacher. You are special to me because you are nice and helpful. You help me with reading because you want me to do my best. You give me supplies that I need.


Audry Yowell


Dear Mrs. Dykes,

I am so thankful you are my teacher. You are nice and reward us with candy when we are good. You make learning fun. I love when we play fact or opinion.


Gage Boone


Dear Mr. Boyd,

I am so thankful you are my teacher. You are funny and I love your silly style. Math is hard but you help me through it. You make science fun too! Every morning you say good morning to me when I come in.


Shasta Whitnauer


Dear Ms. Shaffer,

I am so thankful you are my teacher. You always help me with my math work, give good instructions for what we will be doing next. You tell everyone to do their best. You are special to me.


Jocelyn Webb


Dear Mrs. Inzetta,

I am so thankful that you’re my math teacher. I’m amazed that you still teach even though some students are disrespectful to you. You make math easy for me to understand. And you care to help me succeed and pas the FCAT. I’m glad you’re my teacher!


Morgan Anderson


Dear Mrs. Cumbie,

I am so thankful you are my teacher. You are so nice. Thank you for teaching us adding. You give us candy when we are good. You’re the best teacher.


Cloey Malone


Dear Mrs. Baney,

I am so thankful that you are my teacher. You make the writing process easier. I understand you and you understand me. Thanks again, you’re the best.


Brittani Bouzemann