185 Bellcate School staff, students, family members, and friends attended this year’s annual community lunch. This event is a Bellcate tradition but this year there were a number of special highlights.
As Bellcate school is becoming more and more environmentally conscious and action oriented, our event preparation involved an eco-friendly approach. Bellcate School science class researched ways to decrease our waste at this event and others. We eliminated single use table cloths, selected compostable table settings, used our newly developed food compost bins and teamed with Chittenden Solid Waste District. After everyone enjoyed appetizers, Bellcate science students facilitated a dynamic and educational presentation on the importance of reducing waste and the simple yet impactful ways that everyone can get involved to save our planet. “Our students are so well spoken on this issue as this class has been learning and so invested in this issue for over a year. It it clear to me everyday how much this truly matters to them. They are inspiring,” explained Angie Bell, Bellcate School Special Educator. The new “green” focus of our decor only added to the overall thoughtful spirit of our gathering. Handmade centerpieces were beautiful and following our gathering they were donated to the Sterling House Nursing Home for another event.

Another positive twist- this year was a pot luck. Every staff and family contributed a dish to our meal. The diversity of food was far greater this year making the meal a huge hit. A big shout out to Jason Mashteare, Bellcate Dad, for always lending a hand in the kitchen. And we had enough delicious food to have a “leftovers lunch” the following school day. A great big thank you to Marta for pulling that off. Everyone knows that pumpkin pie is better the second day!

We all sat family style at large round tables for the first time in our new community center, Lily’s Gym. “It was exciting to see our new space be transformed into a beautiful banquet hall hosting our largest annual event. Having enough Bellcate School space for everyone to feel welcome, safe, accommodated and a true sense of belonging is very special,” reflected Jac Treanor, Bellcate School Events Director. Jesse Bell, School Administrator, opened the meal with a Land Acknowledgement- a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. From here it was Bellcate School at its best; reminiscing with old friends and meeting new ones over a shared meal. It really does not get any better than this!