Choo Choo Choosing to Give at the 18th Annual Turkey Train

Turkey Train made a comeback this year as we were able to celebrate one of our favorite annual, all-school traditions in a more typical manner. Although we chugged through a highly-modified yet still heartfelt version of the Thanksgiving donation drive last year, this week’s giving ritual returned with only slight changes required due to the pandemic—and the opportunity to give was gobbled up by students, faculty, and staff throughout Lower, Middle, and Upper School!

Thanks to the tremendous support of our compassionate community, this year’s Turkey Train totaled 5,719 pounds of non-perishable items and 333 turkeys weighing 4,562 pounds. Our community also donated $575 through the virtual drive. Erin Hamill, Director of Global Learning and Upper School Community Service, shared, “Our total donations will provide 10,693 meals to those in need!” Thank you to our entire community for choo choo choosing to give so generously as we reflect our Mission of living lives of purpose and service.

Check out all of the fun we had across campus in the video and photos below in honor of our Turkey Train tradition!

All Aboard the Upper School Turkey Train

Upper Schoolers were encouraged to bring 10- to 12-pound turkeys and had the option of also bringing non-perishable items. On the final day of the drive, students lined our 100-acres from Founders’ Court to the MAC to pass the turkeys from one end of campus to the other. At the MAC, the turkeys were loaded onto a truck destined for a very grateful St. Louis Area Foodbank.

This year, both sophomores and freshmen were first-time participants in the passing of the turkeys since that part of the tradition couldn’t take place last year. As is our custom, students stood in their advisories and they progressed in seniority level, from freshmen to seniors, as turkeys made their way along the railroad path. Not to be missed was the upbeat music playing during the perfect fall morning and the traditional robot created by the Rampunzel robotics team which dutifully carried a turkey all the way to the MAC.

Locomotive Action in Lower School with 8th Graders 

Meanwhile, at the Beasley Playground and on the lawns around Lower School and Olson Hall, each JK through 4th-grade class was paired up with an advisory of 8th graders trained to play different games and share gratitude. As groups met outside, each 8th grader introduced themselves and shared what they were thankful for. Then, the older students taught their younger schoolmates railways to play a variety of games including red light green light, duck-duck-goose, tag, and kickball. Upper and Lower Schoolers also paired up to read books together on the playground.

The games and reading took place after Beasley students brought in canned goods and non-perishable items for the food drive. The Lower School created a large paper turkey as part of the drive where a paper feather is added for every ten items donated. Altogether, 181 feathers were added to the turkey which means that Beasley friends collected over 1,800 items!

Middle School Momentos of Thanks

Last but certainly not the caboose, Middle Schoolers created a tree of gratitude in 5th grade and wrote notes of gratitude in 6th grade. The thank you notes were written to the recent Veterans Day speakers as well as MICDS staff such as the dining hall team, Middle School nurse, the technology department, security, groundskeepers, and housekeeping staff. They also participated in the food drive by bringing in non-perishable items, and our 7th and 8th graders had the option of donating turkeys as well.

The Turkey Train festivities finished off with hot cocoa provided by the thoughtful Parents Association for the full School community.

Thank you to all of our Rams who flocked to give this Thanksgiving season!