With a week of President Trump under their belt, area readers turning to Orwell’s ‘1984’

Orwell 1984

Photo Illustration/ By: Mark Stockwell The Sun Chronicle Staff

By: Abigail DesVergnes

George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” is flying off the shelves of area libraries and bookstores in the first week of the Trump administration.

And, that’s not all.

With “alternative facts” the latest national catchphrase, “1984” is No. 1 on Amazon.com and the publisher has ordered an additional 75,000 copies.

Originally published in 1949, the perennial high school summer reading assignment is hotter than “Farenheit 451,” another unsettling look at a future society by Ray Bradbury, in which books are banned and it’s the job of “firemen” to burn them.

Signet Classics said this week that sales of “1984” have been “remarkably robust.” The publisher noted that books such as Orwell’s tap into “the fears, anxieties, and even hopes” of readers.

The heightened interest in the classic, in which language itself is held captive, follows assertions this week by President Donald Trump and some White House aides about the size of his inaugural crowd and whether voter fraud led him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton last fall.

Administration adviser Kellyanne Conway has called such assertions “alternative facts.”

Attleboro High School English teacher Kevin Gorman taught the book to his students two years ago, and said he understands why people are clamoring for the the book.

He said Conway’s “alternative facts” is relatable to the novel’s “newspeak,” in which history and facts are turned on their heads again and again.

“Newspeak” is a language where unorthodox political ideas and individual thought is eliminated.

“I think that this book is just starting to become popular because people are realizing the different factors that control the media, like ‘fake news,’ government and varying political biases,” Gorman said.

At the Franklin public library, requests for the book has sky-rocketed in the past week. Of 80 copies, only two were available Thursday afternoon.

Vicky Earls in the library’s reference department said she ordered four more copies because of the high demand.

At An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville, sales of “1984” are higher than before.

And at the Attleboro Public Library, two-thirds of its copies of the novel were checked out Thursday.

For a while, “1984” was one of AHS senior Jacob Bibeault’s favorite books.

Bibeault compared the novel’s protagonist, Winston, whose job it is to erase and re-write history, to current events.

“Trump is a big perpetrator of this,” Bibeault said. “He will often mold history and statistics to his advantage, allowing him to garner political support. He’s doing the same thing as Winston.

“The Internet does this just as much. People on social media and news websites make false claims as well, without any evidence, and people believe them.”

“People are taking interest because they want to compare their world to the world of ‘1984,’” Bibeault said. “People are seeing the similarities between the ideas in the novel, and the world we live in today.

Obama’s Legacy



Pablo Martinez Monsivais/ Associated Press



For better or worse, Friday marks the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, an era that began eight years ago with a beam of hope at America’s first African-American commander in chief.

Arguably, a string of accomplishments followed.

Obama worked to reverse the Great Recession, brought home U.S. troops from Iraq, dispatched 9/11 terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, presided over marriage equality and, through his signature Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, expanded health insurance to millions of Americans.

Along the way, there was applause and jeers.

Now, after a bitter, polarizing election, keys to the White House are changing hands and Republican Donald J. Trump is ascending to the highest office in the land — and that might be the best thing that can be said of the state of the union.

Obama called it “the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next” during his farewell address last week.

Here are the opinions of local citizens, who reflected on the ups and downs of Obama’s presidency.



Image result for bert buckley

Screenshot/ Photo of Burt Buckley (left) at the old Clam Shack on Pleasant St. in Attleboro

Republican Burt Buckley of Attleboro, a one-time, unsuccessful, candidate for state representative, knows the knocks of politics first-hand.

Three years later, Buckley says he’s focusing on running his family-owned restaurant, The Clam Shack, in Attleboro.

Politics can be a lot like eating out, he said.

“Even if you don’t like the food on the menu, you can at least respect the people that enjoy it,” the 48-year-old said.

Buckley opposes the Affordable Care Act, saying “it’s not something that should go down as a great part of his legacy.”

But, he said he still respects that Obama went forward with what he promised during his first campaign. Nonetheless, as a small business owner under Obama’s watch, Buckley said the increase in taxes has been painful.

“Taxes upon taxes upon taxes does not build a business,” he said.

Though not all of Obama’s policies meshed with what Buckley believes in, he said he respects the president’s legacy.

“I’m not one to say that all was lost,” Buckley said. “I think that this country has grown. I think that under Obama’s presidency we are a lot more politically aware and accepting today than ever before.”



Hawkins, Jim 011217 GN

Martin Gavin/ The Sun Chronicle Staff: Photo of Jim Hawkins, a retired AHS math teacher.

Jim Hawkins of Attleboro retired two years ago from teaching math at Attleboro High School.

Hawkins, 67, is a Democrat, and believes the past eight years have gone “very smoothly” under Obama.

Hawkins describes Obama as an “articulate and excellent speaker,” who always “stays on agenda.”

He added that Obama is “smart, knowledgeable and brilliant,” a man who knew the ins and outs of his morning briefings and was most likely smarter than the guy sitting next to him.

If there is anything Hawkins would change about Obama’s presidency it would have been Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Hawkins disagreed with Duncan’s Common Core standards to evaluate students and teachers.

As the Trump Inauguration nears, Hawkins fears a Trump presidency will reverse much of what Obama — not the least of which is repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s very scary that people may be limited from having the care they need,” he said.

Hawkins said he is most impressed there have been no scandals during the Obama administration.

“Meanwhile,” he said, “I can name 20 questionable conflicts of interest under Trump’s campaign.”

Obama Legacy Ponder, Elizabeth

Photo By: Mark Stockwell/ The Sun Chronicle Staff: Photo of Liz Cohen, a mother and law student at Suffolk University in Boston

Liz Cohen, 34, is a wife, mother of two, and law student at Suffolk University in Boston.

All of that, and she still has time to keep up on politics.

Looking back on Obama’s presidency, she describes his legacy as “a class act.”

“The president, first lady and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, all represented a loving and strong family unit,” Cohen said.

When Obama first ran for office in 2008, Cohen was living in Germany with her husband, who was deployed with the Army at the time.Her first glimpse of Obama was on a worn out TV, a moment she will never forget.

“He was very likable, a fresh new face, driven and ready to compete for the highest power in office,” she said.

Reflecting on the past eight years, Cohen has been most impressed by what she calls the dignity and poise Obama maintained while fighting for his agenda against a hostile Congress.

“No matter what Obama did, he always tried to connect to the lives of the people within this country,” she said. “It was his charisma that I loved and will never forget.”

Image may contain: 1 person

Photo By: Jaclyn Kate Photography Photo of Kelsey Gallant, a Biology major at UMASS Amherst and a former grad of AHS

Kelsey Gallant of Attleboro was in eighth grade when Obama was elected president.

And although she doesn’t remember exactly how she felt about Obama at the time, she remembers thinking in class — after studying African-American history — how historical it was that an African American was elected the 44th president of the United States.

“After about 400 years of racial discrimination in America, it’s been pretty incredible to have President Obama represent our country,” she said.

Gallant, 21, applauds Obama for coming into office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression and presiding over the recovery, among other achievements.

But, a biology major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she says she’s particularly impressed with his climate action plan and push for clean energy.

Obama's Legacy Callahan

Photo By: Paul Connors/ The Sun Chronicle Staff Photo of Angela Callahan, a mother of former AHS journalism student Jon Kermah and Human Resourses director at Raytheon.

Attleboro resident Angela Callahan is director of human resources at Waltham-based Raytheon, a major defense contractor.

Callahan, 46, said she’s been an Obama supporter from the beginning, and felt “calmness” and “comfort” when he took office.

His election, she said, was “one of the most significant accomplishment for blacks and other people of color in this country.”

“It means that being black in this country should not be a hindrance to success,” Callahan said. “Others cannot and should not put limitations on any individual, based on the color of their skin.”

“This is one of the most significant outcomes documented in this country of all the hard work — inclusive of death — of so many who fought for equal rights in this country,” she said.

Experts warn of danger when headphones played at top volume

Headphones  010417 GN

AHS senior Mia Forrest wearing her Beats/ Photo by: Martiv Gavin The Sun Chronicle Staff


On Christmas morning, Attleboro resident Mia Forrest unwrapped Beats by Dr. Dre – one of the most popular name brand headphones of the year.

Beats by Dre was among the many must-haves children, teens and adults received on Christmas, but music headphones can be hazardous to hearing if used improperly.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health set in 1998 the acceptable sound limit at 85 decibels for adults, but turn up the volume all the way on your Beats, and you can reach up to 110 decibels – about as loud as a live rock concert.

Forrest, 18, says that she will never turn her headphones to that level.

“I usually turn the volume up halfway – it would hurt my ears if I went any higher,” she said.

Any higher and Forrest could have some serious damage to her ear drums, causing inner hair-like fibers responsible for activating frequencies of sounds (known as stereocilia) to be damaged. And, that eventually could lead to hearing disorders, such as noise-induced hearing loss, according to audiologist Ann Stockwell of North Attleboro.

Hearing loss is something Kyle Mercier, 21, of Attleboro says he won’t worry about until later in life.

“The music I listen to is loud enough to cause damage, but I’ll worry about that when I’m 60,” he said. “No matter what time of the day it is, I’m listening to my music loudly because when doing so, you really get the full effect of each song.”

It’s that “concert-goer” attitude that can lead to hearing loss down the road, according to Stockwell who works at an ear, nose and throat specialist’s office in Chestnut Hill in Boston.

Many of the patients she sees at the office are musicians – such as Berklee College of Music students in Boston – dealing with the first signs of hearing loss after listening to high intensity music for long hours, day in and day out.

Over the past year, she said, there’s been a 5 percent increase in students coming in to have their hearing checked.

“Loud music evokes something in us – it’s very enjoyable, and that’s why it’s so dangerous,” Stockwell said. “People wouldn’t listen to a jack hammer for hours on end, but they will listen to music for hours on end.”

And now with music apps like Spotify Premium and Apple Music listeners can stream any genre of music imaginable.

Attleboro High School senior James Scott says many students stream music on their portable devices and headphones throughout the school day – something he says is both distracting, but can be helpful.

“Listening to a certain class or genre of music can either make or break your concentration in school,” he said. “Listening to music with lyrics can make it very difficult when trying to read or write, while listening to purely instrumental music can be extremely helpful.”

But AHS English teacher Adeline Bee said that headphones and ear buds can be distracting in the classroom when students can’t always hear and concentrate on what the teacher is saying.

And with about one in five U.S. teens already displaying some sort of hearing loss, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, following conversations or discussions is even more difficult.

So, ear doctors are urging their patients – especially the youths- to take precautions.

Here is a list of suggestions from Stockwell about ways to prevent hearing loss while listening to music.

Don’t assume the headphones or ear buds you’re wearing are safe.  Manufacturers aren’t required to regulate a safe decibel level, and after overuse a high-intensity level can cause damage.       

Turn it down.Although loud music feels and sounds good, it’s not good for you.

Purchase the proper headphones.

Noise-cancelling headphones will eliminate background noise, so listeners don’t need to turn up the volume. Another option is to see an audiologist for a set of custom-fitted ear buds. The music will sound clearer at lower volume.

Follow the one-half to three-quarter rule.

Set the volume at 50 percent to 75 percent of maximum. Any louder, and you’re in the danger zone.

Warn a friend

If you can hear someone’s music playing a foot away from you, their headphones are turned up too loud.

Have regular ear check-ups.

Getting your ears checked on a regular basis can identify initial signs of hearing loss and help prevent further damage.

True Santa

Nancy Lamothe True Santa GN

Nancy Lamothe volunteering at the AHS school store Photo by: Tom Maguire

By: Abigail DesVergnes

Nancy Lamothe has spent the past 13 years volunteering for Attleboro schools.

She is former president of the Blue Pride Ambassadors club at Attleboro High School and former treasurer for the PTO at Brennan Middle School.

Lamothe, 44, does everything and anything she can for the schools — from volunteering at the school store, working concession stands and running Teacher Appreciation Week.

Lamothe believes there’s a big responsibility when it comes to developing students into successful adults — the reason she volunteers year after year.

One of her biggest accomplishments was helping create the Blue Pride Palooza dinner in November, which raised more than $50,000 for Attleboro High School’s technology fund.

“The schools need all the support they can get. And if I, or anyone else has the ability to help out, it makes our school community a better place,” she said. “It’s truly amazing how rewarding it feels to give back to something that gives so much to our children.”

Lamothe is the wife of Marc Lamothe, 45, and the mother of four children, Hannah, 18; Emma, 16; Noah, 15; and Jack, 13.

True Santa

Mills, Kiara True Santa

AHS Senior, Kiara Mills is making cancer care packages for patients for Answer for Cancer   Photo by: Mark Stockwell/The Sun Chronicle

By: Abigail DesVergnes

Kiara Mills is an Attleboro High School senior trying to find an Answer for Cancer, and during the holiday season she helps make care packages for cancer patients at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.

When Mills was younger, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Fortunately, her mother survived, but the experience really took a toll on the Mills family.

Once Mills entered into her freshman year of high school, she was introduced to the Answer for Cancer club and immediately decided to join.

“The most rewarding part about Answer for Cancer is being able to make someone who is struggling and in pain have a little happiness in their day — even if it is just for a little while,” she said.

This year, Mills raised enough money to create 105 care packages, and that isn’t including the rest of the club.

In the packages she will include chapstick, lotion, fuzzy socks, gloves, hats, pencils and crossword puzzles.

“To me, Christmas is all about love, and I hope that these care packages can help make a patient’s treatment a little easier,” she said.


Start of the Season


Screenshot: The Sun Chronicle (left) Senior Varsity captain Jake Dunkley

By: Abigail DesVergnes

Walking into the first high school basketball game of the season, you will smell the freshly stained and polished gym floor, hear the sounds of squeaking Nike shoes, feel the vibrations of fans cheering, and see the colors of your hometown teams.

In the stands you will see the faces of those of the past, present, and future – alumni, current students, and young ones – who dream that one day they will land a spot on the varsity basketball team.

On the court you will see the faces of underclassmen basketball players, looking forward to a season filled with success and the hope to improve within the next few years. And you will see the faces of upperclassman, still holding on to their last season and awaiting their college future.

Attleboro High School and many teams across the Hockomock League Tuesday night shared those common feelings of nostalgia, hope and pride with the start of the season.

Attleboro senior and varsity captain Andrew Milliken jogged out onto the court at the start of the Attleboro vs. Canton home opener, high-fiving his teammates and coaches and hoping to defeat Canton, but beneath his excitement was a mix of emotions. For Milliken, being a senior is “bittersweet,” as he is excited for the rest of the season but sad playing his last opening high school game.

“It’s been a long ride. My team and I have put in a lot of hard work – from pre-season, tryouts and practice. I know and hope that for the rest of the season, we perform and implement all that we’ve been working toward on the court,” Milliken said before the game.

For Attleboro senior varsity captain, Jake Dunkley it’s not just about what happens on the court, but off the court as well. “As a team, we grow and learn both on and off the court. Not only are we training to be better basketball players, but better people as well.”

It’s this type of mentality that creates community camaraderie. It’s why elementary and middle school basketball players look up to the varsity team – hoping that one day they’ll be just like them.

Attleboro resident and Coelho Middle School basketball player, Kaden Davenport, 12, said that after watching Attleboro defeat Canton 62-53, it made him realize how hard he wants to practice day so that one day he can make the team.

And although the varsity players on both teams were the definite stars of the show, the cheerleaders and the student section played a big part in motivating their team.

Attleboro students decided to have a white-out which was coordinated by a group of students called “the pound” via Twitter. AHS senior and pound member Andrew Gingras said: “It’s our job as fans to get our players pumped up and motivated. I think that our energy helps them perform at a higher intensity.”

This motivation and energy emanating from the crowd may just be why AHS sophomore Domonick Victor was able to hit a second-quarter slam dunk.

But like anything, making a slam dunk doesn’t happen because of luck; it takes practice. Just ask Attleboro freshman Bryant Ciccio who trained all summer to land a spot on the varsity team. Just a year ago, Ciccio was a wide-eyed middle schooler who dreamed about playing, and now he is a key player on the varsity team as a freshman.

“It is a great opportunity to play up at the varsity level and I worked very hard for it,” Ciccio said. “I am looking forward to a great season ahead of us.”

Thanksgiving is a holiday for everyone

Thanksgiving may be the most American of all holidays but its foundation – food, family, friends and gratitude – knows no borders, religions or cultures. Everyone can relate, and everyone loves it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By: Abigail DesVergnes

Thanksgiving is a time for all Americans to give thanks, cook, and get together with family and friends.

For many, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are dishes that can be found on the dining room table.

But for others from a variety of cultural backgrounds, dishes they cook on Thanksgiving reflect parts of the world where their families came from.

What’s so unique about America is that each family has a story regarding where they came from and how they got here, and the recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation are portals between the past, present and future. When the pilgrims landed in the New World in 1620 they brought with them cultural touchstones from England, but as they encountered the Wampanoags, they learned how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees and catch fish in the rivers – all concepts that would eventually define the new identity of Americans.

In November 1621, Plymouth colonists and the native Wampanoags shared an autumn harvest feast- combining both of their cultures – marking the first Thanksgiving.

Just as the Indians and settlers combined their cultures, many Americans combine the traditional turkey dinner with dishes that reflect their cultural identities.

The Alves family: Portuguese and Syrian food

The Alves family from Attleboro combine their Portuguese and Syrian cultures on Thanksgiving surrounded by family.

Husband Luciano Alves is of Portuguese background and wife Monique Alves, both 44 , is Syrian.

Their meal consists of Portuguese dishes such as papo secos (Portuguese bread rolls), Portuguese kale soup, arroz doce (Portugese rice pudding) and Syrian dishes such as baklava, hashweh (rice, ground beef and roasted nuts) and stuffed grape leaves.

And, they still have the turkey.

This “mixing of cultures,” as Monique describes it, is the Alves family tradition.

Both Luciano and Monique remember the times before they were married when they watched and learned from their parents about how to prepare their non-traditional Thanksgiving meals.

Luciano said he remembers watching his mother in the kitchen preparing seafood appetizers like spicy shrimp, calamari and clam and mussel stew.

“It was honestly my favorite part of the day,” he said.

Monique is thankful that she and her husband were able to combine their cultures on their Thanksgiving table.

“Thanksgiving to our family is a time where we can all come together and enjoy our differences as one,” she said. “We are thankful to have everything – most of all each other.”

Their daughter Kassandra, 17, hopes to pass down the traditions when she gets older.

“I love having non-traditional dishes. I think it’s amazing to have continued this tradition and I will definitely continue passing this tradition down,” she said.

The Nasa family: Lebanese food

In 2001, the Nasa family moved from a small village in northern Lebanon to Attleboro.

It was a journey of 5,000 miles, so some of the only things they could bring with them were recipes.

The Nasa family uses Thanksgiving to merge their American and Lebanese cultures together.

“We feel a part of both cultures, so why not merge the two together,” said Sarah Nasa,18.

Alongside the turkey, casseroles, mashed potatoes, pies, and cranberry sauce are the traditional Lebanese meals of rice with ground beef and pine nuts, spinach and meat pies, grape leaves, chicken with nuts, hummus and baba ghanouj.

“I still make the Thanksgiving dinner, plus the traditional Lebanese food, so everyone in the family is happy,” said Sara’s mother, Leila Nasa.

This is how it should be, according to Sara.

“I like how we eat our non-traditional foods alongside traditional foods because what greater representation of America could there be,” she said.

The Nasa family believes America, itself, is home to so many different nationalities that contribute to one big American culture.

“In my mind, it is the most American thing to have such a mixed meal during Thanksgiving because although I am paying homage to my heritage, I am also embracing my American side and acknowledging that the two don’t have to be separated, ” Sara said.

The DeRose family: Italian food

If there’s one thing Italians know how to do, it’s eat.

And the DeRose family of Attleboro loves going “all out” during the holidays, and Thanksgiving is just the start.

On the DeRose dining room table you’ll find meatballs, lasagna, gnocchi, and all sorts of pastas – and of course, the glorious turkey.

Oh, and let’s not forget the pies, cannolis and Italian cookies.

Alessandra DeRose, 18, says, “the more food the merrier for our family.”

Alessandra’s father, Bob DeRose, 57, says that cooking Italian dishes on Thanksgiving has been a tradition for as long as he can remember.

Bob recalls times when his grandmother, aunts and sisters would roll out more than 2,000 tortellinis a week before Thanksgiving to prepare for their traditional tortellini soup.

“It has always been tradition to incorporate Italian foods in our holiday dinners – that’s what I grew up with, it’s a part of our heritage,” he said. “There is pasta at all of our holiday celebrations, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The Harvey family: Vegetarian food

Although the Harvey family is British and Irish, they don’t celebrate their Thanksgiving with the traditional meals of their cultures, like bangers and mash. Rather they celebrate the holiday by eating all vegetarian and vegan foods.

“I cook vegetarian and vegan dishes because we are an all vegetarian and vegan household,” said Attleboro resident and mother, Melanie Harvey, 37.

Harvey has six kids, and all are either vegetarian or vegan.

Her two youngest sons have never even had meat, and “it isn’t something I plan on introducing to them, unless they specifically ask,” she said. “Cooking vegetarian and vegan is an everyday thing for me – Thanksgiving isn’t any different.”

Some of the meals the Harvey family has prepared in the past is, vegan/gluten free stuffed mushrooms, ravioli lasagna, tofurkey, and vegducken.

Tofurkey is a meat substitute in the form of a loaf of vegetarian protein, usually made from tofu with a stuffing made from grains or bread. Vegducken is zucchini stuffed into an eggplant, stuffed into a butternut squash, with vegetarian stuffing between each layer.

Melanie’s daughter Grace said she loves the dishes.

“It’s hard to go out to other people’s houses and eat when you’re vegan, so it’s nice to have a day where all the food is vegan-friendly,” she said.

Melanie starts preparing for the vegetarian feast as early as 5 a.m., and once the kids roll out of bed they either help cook or sit in the living room and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Thanksgiving is a lot of cooking and stress, but it pays off because it means I get to see all my kids together. Having the whole family sit down together and really appreciate one another is something I look forward to every year,” Melanie said.

Pan Family: Chinese food

The Pan family of Attleboro is known for the Chinese restaurants they own in the area, including Hong Kong Treasures in Attleboro and Hong Kong City in Taunton.

During their Thanksgiving they eat traditional Chinese foods like rice, braised pork, steamed broccoli, along with the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

In the Chinese culture, family is very important – and the Pan’s reflect that on Thanksgiving, as it’s a chance for all members of their family to get together and give thanks.

Stephanie Pan, 17, of Attleboro said there’s a sort of “tribe” mentality among Chinese families, where everyone in the family takes care of one another.

“When a baby is born, relatives will often help take care of and raise the baby to allow the parents to be more relaxed as the parents work,” she said. “And as parents grow older and become elderly, they tend to move in with their adult children so that their kids can take care of them, instead of living independently or being put in a nursing home.

“I think this is one of the main reasons why Thanksgiving is important to my family. Since our culture emphasizes the importance of family, Thanksgiving gives us the chance to get together with the entire family and re-establish that belief.”

Pan used to “hate” having non-traditional dishes because it was hard for her to relate with friends whenever they talked about Thanksgiving. But over the years, she has begun to enjoy having non-traditional meals much more.

“I have come to love it. My family is so unique and the dishes that we choose to have on Thanksgiving shows how important our culture is to us,” she said.

“I think that it is very important for people to keep in touch with their family background/culture because it gives them an open mind and allows them to see the world from multiple perspectives,” Pan said.

Salguero Family: Guatemalan food

The Salguero family of Attleboro stays far away from turkey on Thanksgiving.

As Guatemalans, the Salgueros enjoy cooking foods like tamales (made of a starchy dough, usually corn-based steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf, and stuffed with meat) ceviche (shrimp in citrus juices), caldo (meat stew), rice, beans and tortillas.

Twenty-one years ago, husband and wife Fidelfo and Olga Salguero, now 42, decided to leave Guatemala – where they met – to the United States in search of opportunity.

“Being Guatemalan means being strong and overcoming hardships. My background wasn’t the greatest, but I always found the motivation to keep moving forward,” Olga said.

And once the family grew with the addition of three kids, they decided that each Thanksgiving they would give thanks to their Guatemalan heritage by cooking dishes they grew up eating.

Their son Kevin said his parents raised him to be proud of his heritage.

“In my house, Thanksgiving brings happiness and great vibes. My parents make sure that us children never forget where we came from,” he said.

“I’m very proud to be Guatemalan, it has made me strong. Eating Guatemalan food reminds me of where I came from, and to never forget it,” Olga said. “And, it just tastes good.”