Thanksgiving started a little early at Lincoln Academy as students and teachers enjoyed eating food and hearing from guest speaker, state Rep. Ray McCarter, D-Marlow, Tuesday during the school’s Thankful for Friendship Feast.

The feast was in honor of the Friends of Lincoln volunteers, and students at Stillwater’s alternative school showed their appreciation by decorating the lunch tables that lined the hallway and baking pies the day before, family and consumer sciences teacher Carla Harnly said.

Sophomore student Dea Abbey said she wanted to thank the volunteers who help students like her on a daily basis.

“They do a lot for us, and we don’t do much for them, so we want to thank them,” she said, adding that the volunteers are at the school for students to talk to and for school activities.

Deborah Green has been involved with Friends of Lincoln since its beginning last fall and said the feast was amazing.

“I think (the students) are very sweet and giving, and this is a special way to show they appreciate the volunteers,” she said.

Students, teachers and volunteers began the festivities by eating turkey, potatoes and other food provided by Stillwater’s Child Nutrition Services.

They also enjoyed pies that were made all day Tuesday by the family and consumer sciences students.

After the meal was over, a few students took the time to thank the volunteers as well as Principal Caryl Talley and Harnly for everything they do for the students.

McCarter then spoke to the students and told them he dropped out of school when he was in the 10th grade at Comanche High School and that it was Talley’s father who helped him get back in school and graduate.

After graduating from high school, McCarter went on to receive a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree and then a doctorate degree in educational administration from the University of Oklahoma.

McCarter then worked in public schools for 30 years, the last of which he worked as the superintendent of Marlow schools.

For the past 10 years, he has represented District 51 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he has two more years.

McCarter explained to the students that he was also a student at an alternative school and told them they can also make it.

“I owe everything to (Talley’s father),” he said. “He made me who I am today, and that’s why I’m here talking to you today.

“You can be anything you want and do anything you want if you have determination, make sacrifices and work hard.”

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