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Students enjoy their Thanksgving lunch, sponsored by the Maple Avenue Elementary School's PFT Thursday. (KATHY REMILLARD PHOTO)

Goffstown's Maple Avenue School celebrates Thanksgiving at luncheon

GOFFSTOWN - Students got a warm-up for their Thanksgiving Day meals at the annual schoolwide luncheon at Maple Avenue Elementary School on Thursday.

Much like the Thanksgiving they will celebrate next week, extra touches were added to the school cafeteria.

Tables were decorated with fall centerpieces and turkeys and with the arrival of special guests the usual cafeteria lunch was turned into something extra special.

Turkey with all of the trimmings - stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, carrots and apple crisp - was served up by members of the Goffstown Police and Fire Departments in the event that principal Suzanne Pszyka said has been held for the past 20 years.

"It's family-style," Psyzka said, noting that all of the tables were put together as opposed to having children sit at table by class.

"I think they like how it looks when they come in with the tables all set," she said.

The event was funded by the school's Parent Faculty Together (PFT) group, and Dian McCarthy, the organization's vice president, said every child is offered a meal.

The presence of local firefighters and police officers in their uniforms is a part of the tradition the children enjoy, McCarthy said.

"It's a nice community builder," she said.

"They get excited when they see the police and fire departments here," Pszyka said. "It's a special treat for them."

Firefighter Matt Bechard said his favorite part of helping out at the event is getting to connect with students.

"The kids are awesome," he said.

Bechard said he grew up in Goffstown and knows many of the parents of the students, making the event extra special.

Goffstown Police Capt. Robert Browne said the officers get as much enjoyment out of seeing the kids as they seem to get out of seeing them in uniform, serving up lunch.

"It is that special connection to the youth of our town that helps us understand the importance of our profession," he said. "It's a tradition that we wouldn't do without."