SV third-graders share Thanksgiving perspectives

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 27, 2003

AID TOWNSHIP - While most adults are familiar with the stories of the English Pilgrims meeting up with the Native Americans at Plymouth Rock, children are just learning the story.

Dressed in both black Pilgrim hats and colorful headdresses, third graders at Symmes Valley Elementary marched in for their Thanksgiving dinner Monday morning.

"The Pilgrims went on the Mayflower because they wanted to celebrate God," said third grader Alec Herrell. "Most of them died. Then, the Indians came by and taught them how to plant corn, build, how to hunt and taught their children how to pick stuff."

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Herrell, who will be eating dinner with his family today, said he is thankful for sandwiches.

As she eats turkey with her family today, Stacie Damron said she will be thankful for Jesus.

"He makes us food, he died for us, he loves us and he heals us," Damron said.

Felicia Steel will be eating a dinner prepared by her mommy, grandma and daddy.

"He cooks the stuffing, the mashed potatoes and the dressing. My daddy's a good cook," she said.

Lena Pancake, a parent volunteer helping serve at the dinner, said at her home, she has often handed her two daughters, Elizabeth, 21, and Emily, 9 1/2, six pieces of corn to show the girls how much the Pilgrims had to eat upon their arrival at Plymouth Rock. As a result, Pancake said, most of them died.

"I'm thankful for the school, the teachers here and what they offer and do with the kids," she said.

Third grade teacher Pam Lang said her students have been studying Thanksgiving extensively by writing papers and several journal entries about for whom and for what they are thankful. Most responses, she said, have been "Mom and Dad."

The children also watched the movie "The Thanksgiving Promise", a movie in which a young man agrees to fatten and kill a goose for his neighbors' Thanksgiving dinner but becomes torn when the goose becomes his special friend, Lang said.

"We want them to learn how to be thankful for what they have and learn to give," Lang said. "We collected change to give back to our community. It was really sweet today. They didn't have to pay for their lunches, so they gave their lunch money."

This money, she said, will go to an adopted family that would not have a Christmas without help. The students' willingness to give, she said, is because their parents are teaching them how to be caring people.