Swank Hall's yearly tradition of serving a Thanksgiving dinner to the entire dorm, or “Swanksgiving” as it has come to be known, was held last Sunday, November 5, in cozy North Cottage. The dorm gathered as a community as they broke bread and attempted to stay out of the cold.
Swanksgiving has a long history as a tradition in Swank Hall. Despite reports that Jo Wrzesinsky started the tradition when she was dorm dean, she simply said, “No, I took it from Susan Hutchins.” Hutchins, was the girls lacrosse coach who served as dorm dean before Wrzesinsky, who served before English teacher Doonie Brewer, who served before current dorm dean and history teacher Emily Schoenberger ‘15.
As in the past, the dorm faculty collaborated to provide the feast. Maria Rihn ‘24 commented, “The food was amazing—not just because of HOW it was cooked, but WHO it was cooked by. The table was made up of everyone’s contributions, which made it all the more special!”
Dorm resident, Fred Horn roasted two huge turkeys to meet the hungry demands of the dorm. “He spent three days prepping the turkeys and they spent eight hours in a smoker, which made them extra tasty,” reported Schoenberger, having witnessed the hours of work.
She noted that the joy of Swanksgiving goes far beyond the food; it’s also about the community. “It was a really special time, and it felt especially homey this year because we held it in North Cottage. It really felt like a real Thanksgiving!” said Scho.
Of course, as with any large event there naturally comes some stress. Schoenberger reported a moment of domestic tension in the transit of the food. “The fact that Mr. Horn spilled turkey juice all over the back of my car when he was transporting the turkeys to North Cottage. But honestly, it’s not that bad, because now it smells like a Thanksgiving feast every time I get in my car.”
Since Thanksgiving only serves as an American holiday, it’s something that not every student celebrates back at their home. Arpi Karapetyan ‘24 said, “My family doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so this was a nice change to celebrate with friends.” Crystal Yuen ‘24 noted that Swanksgiving is different from celebrations with her family: “At home sometimes the food has a few more dishes that are, like, very Chinese, but it’s one of the meals where my family likes to do the classics.”
Former Swank resident Bailey Weibley ‘11 has now begun introducing her own children to the tradition. “My favorite part about Swanksgiving is everyone being together. It might sound cheesy, but Thanksgiving in itself is all about families gathering, and Swanksgiving is the same. We have former Swankstas, present Swankstas, and future Swankstas in attendance each year and it makes it so special.”