Thanksgiving came early at the Red Oak Independent School District with the annual Senior Citizen Luncheon, Monday.

The Red Oak High School gymnasium was transformed into a dining hall as more than 100 senior citizens were treated to a pre-Thanksgiving spread of turkey, green beans, cranberry sauce, dressing and gravy. With all hands on deck, the meal was prepared by the Student Nutrition department and served by the district’s principals, administrators and Red Oak High School Student Council.

“Our luncheons are a simple way to say thank you and keep [our seniors] connected to their school district,” District Spokeswoman Beth Trimble said. “We keep them current on district progress and truly enjoy the fellowship time with each guest who attends.”

Hailed as pillars of the community, Trimble added that the district takes its relationship with the older generations very seriously.

“Red Oak ISD truly values our community's seniors, many of whom are grandparents or actively involved in our schools as volunteers,” Trimble elaborated. “They are the backbone of a community with their wealth of experiences, dedication to country and support of public education. We turn to them for lessons from the past to shape our future.”

Red Oak Elementary students presented a Veteran’s Day-themed performance.

New superintendent Brenda Sanford was also on hand to introduce herself and mingle with the crowd. Before taking the helm of the district, Sanford was the Canton Independent School District’s director of curriculum and assessment.

“I recognize the importance of equipping each student and staff member with the skills and strategies necessary to help them reach their full, individual potential,” said Sanford in a statement last month. “We must take this responsibility to heart at every level in order to give our students what they deserve.”

Senior citizens - 60 years and older - who live in Red Oak, are eligible to receive a free Red Oak ISD Gold Card.

“The Gold Card benefits include free admission to all Red Oak ISD sponsored home athletic events, plays and concerts,” Trimble explained.

You can stop by any district school campus for an application form or download it here.