Smiles and Spaghetti

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“Leslie! How are you? It’s so nice to see you again,” exclaims my old eighth grade teacher as I place a heaping spoonful of spaghetti on her plate. It was the first time I had been back to my alma mater for such a grand and highly anticipated event.

This occurred last May at Orangewood School’s annual end-of-the-year event. It’s known as the “Spaghetti Dinner and Night of the Arts” and it is something everyone had been looking forward to since the beginning of the school year. I smiled back and responded, “Good, it’s nice to see you too.” This event was a chance for everyone in the community to come out and enjoy a good meal with their friends and family. In the hallways, creative and colorful artwork filled the pale white walls for all to admire. Plus, Orangewood’s chorus group creates a joyous atmosphere as they sing songs that all ages can enjoy.

My little sister was still attending Orangewood at the time, and my mom was actively involved in the school’s Parent Teacher Organization. And although I was a high school sophomore, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to not only visit but also help out at the school that had been my home away from home for nine years. That’s why I try to go back and volunteer as much as I can.


Leaving the house a few hours before it was starting, we arrive to find a desolate, empty cafeteria. As the other P.T.O. members begin to trickle in, the fun starts: set-up. There is so much that needs to be done. I am told to lie out the tables and spread out the tablecloths. Then I must help get the food line in order. It began with the plates, forks, and napkins. Next, the salad and breadsticks followed by the main course, spaghetti. It was my job to start filling up the cups with lemonade and place them in an orderly fashion on the table. As I am running around making sure everything is in it place, I can see everyone else doing the same, making the final preparations before the big debut. In the end, the cafeteria looked as spectacular as any fine dining restaurant.

As I take my station behind the spaghetti, I hear one of the other moms yell, “Doors are opening!” Parents and their children pile into the cafeteria, and a hunger-filled, snake-like line quickly forms. My eyes widen and my body freezes like a statue. While I am serving, I gaze around and see families laughing and enjoying themselves. I see children singing along to the songs they sing in music class. And out in the hallway, a child’s face glows when their parents praise them for making such a beautiful picture.

Seeing what a great time everyone had, makes volunteering my time all worth it because its one thing to know people are enjoying themselves, but its another to know you played a part in creating a night they’ll never forget.





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