Harriton Students and Staff Celebrate Another Year of Thanksgiving Traditions


As this year’s Thanksgiving approaches, many students and staff members are excited to use the holiday as an opportunity to express their gratitude. Among some of these Harriton members are Spanish teacher Señora Padilla and cafeteria complex manager Diane Berkman.

Señora Padilla encourages her students to write cards to Harriton teachers and faculty members during this time of year. After all, Señora told me, “How can you not be grateful for at least one person in this building?” Señora instructs her students to write in Spanish(with an English translation of course) why the students are thankful for each teacher and his/her class.

Senora Padilla believes it is essential to incorporate culture from the outside world into Spanish class. After it was a success the first year, she continued making cards in the following years. 

Another yearly tradition is cafeteria manager Diane Berkman’s Thanksgiving meal. Occurring the week before Thanksgiving, the cafeteria serves pumpkin pie, casseroles, mashed potatoes, and many more holiday favorites.

Assistant Principal Mrs. Marcuson noted that Berkman has been “doing this to give back to Harriton for over 20 years. It’s a nice way for everyone to get into the Holiday spirit.”

What does thankfulness mean to the students? Harriton students appreciate the people and resources in their lives in and outside of school.

In a survey sent to all Harriton students regarding thankfulness, 82% of students responded that they were most thankful for their family and 60.6% of students answered friends. At school, 72.7% of students noted they were most thankful for lunch and learn and 45.5% said they were thankful for their classmates.  

Students Isabelle Levy, Nina Hartling, and Mandy Becker are all thankful for their “supportive friends and family.”

Harriton students also appreciate the many privileges that Harriton High School offers. Camille Fürer says, “I am thankful for the MacBooks and Lunch and Learn. Both of these help me in school on a day to day basis,” and freshman Faye Mulder agrees.

Cristina Sniffen adds, “I am thankful for the supportive environment the teachers and staff provide.”

Junior Ty Nagvajara says, “I am thankful for the extensive opportunities that are provided in this school district. I acknowledge Lower Merion’s privilege.”

Another junior, Tori Meiler, says she is “thankful for teachers who constantly [provide] resources and are willing to help.”

We should all take some time this week to thank our family, friends, and Harriton staff, who not only give us the resources to help us achieve academic success but also give us support and guidance to help us thrive in everyday life.