Friday, November 22, 2013

Randolph couple hosts students for Thanksgiving

Every November, some Randolph students find a home for Thanksgiving without having to look far.

Randall Speer, a music professor, and Karen Speer ’04, who works in the registrar’s office, invite College students to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. While some students go visit their own families or go home with friends, the Speers set a place for students who stay on campus over the break.

“We both had experiences when we were in college and we were stranded on campus during the holidays,” said Randy Speer, noting that one year his wife’s Thanksgiving dinner consisted of Cheez Whiz and crackers. “We promised ourselves that when I got a full-time teaching position, we would offer this to students.”

They hosted a couple of students their first Thanksgiving at Randolph, but the tradition has grown. Sometimes they host more than a dozen students, including international students who need a place to go. “We always have room, even if we have to set up a TV tray and let someone eat on the couch,” Karen Speer said.

There was only one year that the Thanksgiving meal almost did not happen: an oven fire threatened the feast. They extinguished the flames and went to the store to purchase another oven.

Students, faculty, staff, and other friends gather at the Speers’ house at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Shortly thereafter, they take turns telling the group what they are thankful for, and then the meal begins.

Igor Bayder ’14, a senior from Moscow, Russia, is looking forward to his fourth Thanksgiving with the Speer family. “I am friends with the whole family, so it is a time for me to hang out with them, and the food itself is very enjoyable,” he said.

Students do not need to bring food to contribute to the meal, but the Speers do ask students to let them know in advance if they plan to come.