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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

IB Celebrates Thanksgiving Break with Grateful Gathering

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  • Making a plate at Grateful Gathering, IB English teacher Dr. Plocher participates in the festivities. Teachers were invited to the event in addition to students and parents.

  • Gathering flowers, sophomores Karen Chen, Iris Chen, and Avery Chen make bouquet arrangements to take home. The flowers were brought to Grateful Gathering by a parent volunteer, and bouquet-making was the last activity of the event.

  • Loading their plates, juniors Prithika Chandresekar and Arihant Sen walk through the buffet table. Parent volunteers arrived early to Grateful Gathering to set up the table, featuring a variety of home-cooked foods.

  • Playing Message in a Bottle by The Police, Garage Band guitarist Kiran Dinakaran ’25 amplifies the cozy ambiance at Grateful Gathering. The Garage Band also played American Idiot by Green Day.

  • In conversation, Anushka Gupta ’26 and Karen Chen ’26 enjoy their meal. The food, prepared by parent volunteers of IB students, was arranged in an elaborate buffet for students to enjoy.

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Aromas of food and spices from around the world wafted through the school as more than 300 eager pre-IB and IB students arrived in the cafeteria on Thursday, Nov. 16 for the annual IB Grateful Gathering event. Tables in the cafeteria were adorned with Thanksgiving-themed decorations and festive fall flower centerpieces. The atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation for the upcoming autumn break which many students looked forward to as a refuge to rest. 

Grateful Gathering was organized by the IBSO (IB Student Organization) officers and was one of the biggest IB social events for the year, including a variety of activities to choose from including basketball, Just Dance, soccer, and a program-wide dodgeball tournament in the gym. The environment in the gym was largely joyous and competitive as speakers played music and attendees cheered on friends from the sidelines or participated in the game.

“I think the Grateful Gathering is a great way for the IB community to come together to have fun in a festive season and share common interests,” Rohan Satija ‘25 said.

As the students were playing dodgeball, parent volunteers arranged a Thanksgiving feast with a variety of dishes. The buffet had quintessential Thanksgiving food like turkey and mashed potatoes but also homemade food such as samosas, egg rolls, and filo pastries. 

“I think [Grateful Gathering was] especially important for the senior kids who have been working hard in the summer filling out their college applications,” lead IBPA (IB Parent Association) volunteer Balasubramanium Sivasubramanian said. “It’s good for them to spend time with their friends as the holiday is coming up.”

While students were eating, Westwood’s Garage Band performed songs such as Message in a Bottle and American Idiot which set a cozy ambiance for the dinner. As the evening was coming to a close, IB students arranged their own flower bouquets to take home.

“I think [the event was] definitely helpful for the pre-IB students to get a feel for the community,” IBSO officer Rochela Sjariffudin ‘24 said. “I think community is a huge part of the IB program – it’s something that other programs at this school don’t [always] offer. Also, [Grateful Gathering] was important for [underclassmen] to connect with upperclassmen and get advice.”

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Lena Boas
Lena Boas, Extras Editor
Class of 2025 I’ve had a passion for writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I’m so excited to be a part of the Horizon and to help out with the Heritage. I love playing on my club soccer team, finding new piano music to play, and reading mysteries during my free time. I have a big interest in other cultures and countries and love to travel. One fun fact about me is that I’m bilingual and speak German at home. I’m really looking forward to being on student press again this year, especially as an editor!
Bella Yi
Bella Yi, Reporter
Class of 2026 Howdy!! I’m excited to be on student press this year and can’t wait to create for the Horizon and Heritage. In my free time, you can find me playing video games, playing piano, baking, painting, and cracking bad jokes.

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