Earlier this month we celebrated Poland’s National Independence Day, with our Polish student Anna Retel.

It’s a national holiday in Poland and this year marked the 100th anniversary of the country’s re-emergence as a sovereign nation after 123 years of partitions and rule by Russia, Prussia and Austria.

Helping our overseas students celebrate their national days is something of a tradition at the Chippendale school.

On top of learning the skills needed to practice as professional woodworkers, it’s an opportunity to share in each other’s culture, history and traditions.

This week we were therefore delighted to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with our four American students: Christian Burt from Oregon, Steve Tripp from Minnesota, Kent Turner from Washington State, and Heather Jones from California.

Thanksgiving probably dates back to 1621 when Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations.

However, it wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Another link between Scotland and the USA will come at the end of the professional course when our students’ work is exhibited publicly at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, a historic church with a wonderfully atmospheric interior.

To the left of the alter proudly hangs the American flag, because the church was consecrated on the 9th November 1620, the same day that the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower landed in the New World.

For our American students, it will be another reminder of how fine woodworking can bring the Old and New Worlds together.

Thanksgiving at the school was celebrated with turkey and vegetables, raw dipping vegetables with ranch sauce, and other goodies including pumpkin cheesecake – with, of course, lashings of American whiskey!

Pictured (left to right): Kent Turner, Heather Jones, Steve Tripp and Christian Burt