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Presidents students explain why they are thankful

First-graders, from left, Emma Smiddy, Kyrie Anderton and Avah Wagner write where they go to celebrate Thanksgiving in Bonnie Johnson’s classroom. - Amy Watkins
First-graders, from left, Emma Smiddy, Kyrie Anderton and Avah Wagner write where they go to celebrate Thanksgiving in Bonnie Johnson’s classroom.
— image credit: Amy Watkins

BY AMY WATKINS

For The Arlington Times

ARLINGTON — Students at Presidents Elementary School know it’s a time of year to be thankful.

They also expect to eat a grand dinner with family, although they are more than a bit befuddled when it comes to the details of cooking a turkey.  The boys and girls in Bonnie Johnson and Shannon Kjellesvik’s first-grade classroom on Nov. 20 discussed the Thanksgiving holiday and traditions.

Avah Wagner, 6, plans to celebrate with family. Her grandma made the best turkey dinner last year and she’s going to cook this year’s Thanksgiving turkey, Avah said.

“My grandma makes the best food like my mom,” she said. “She put some pretend fruit on the table so it would look kind of nice, then she lit the candles, and then we prayed.”

Avah added that she doesn’t know how her grandma cooks the turkey so well but guesses she needs at least 10 minutes to get it done just right.

“It’s hard to cook a turkey,” Avah said.

It could take seconds to grill the perfect turkey, said Brooklyn Corter, 7. Her family gathered last year for Thanksgiving at her aunt and uncle’s house.

“We ate a lot food and the little kids sat at a little table, and there were a lot of older people so they sat at the big table,” Brooklyn said. “Last year I ate olives. I love black olives.”

Nash Rorick, 7, plans to celebrate by eating turkey with his cousins and making turkey decorations at home. If he were to cook the turkey, he’d use the microwave.

“My microwave only goes for 30 seconds so we would have to take it out and put it back in, take it out and put it back in,” Nash said.

Kailey Bisson, 6, said her dad cooks the turkey on a Traeger grill. She and her family usually eat at her grandma’s house. Being thankful is an important part of the holiday, Kailey added. She’s particularly thankful this year for being able to go to school, where she learns math.

“We celebrate because we are thankful for everything that is good in our life,” Kailey said.

Ayden Rapelyea also talked about what he is thankful for this Thanksgiving. Ayden, 6, said he is thankful for the paper he uses to make cards and to write things on. He’s also thankful for the electricity that powers things like the TV.

“If we didn’t have any electricity we would have to always use batteries and then everybody would be using up every single battery,” Ayden said.

This time of year is what Leonardo Garcia Nunez said he’s thankful for.

“I’m thankful it’s almost Christmas,” he said. “And it’s almost my birthday.”

Not everyone likes to eat turkey, added Leonardo, 6.  He prefers eating chicken, while his classmate Olivia Thompson, 6, likes to eat ham as part of her Thanksgiving dinner. This year, Olivia plans to help by setting the table.

“I set the table,” she said. “There will be seven people and only four chairs. We do have extra (chairs).”

Gabe Perniciaro, 7, also helps to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner with his family by setting the table.

“I get the forks, spoons and napkins out,” he said. “Grandma comes over. The turkey does taste good.”

Family is what he’s most thankful for, said Paul Shevchuk, 6.

“I’m thankful for Jesus, and for my little brother, my mom and my dad,” he said.

Johnson and Kjellesvik are planning to have a classroom feast before Thanksgiving. Their students will have the choice to dress up in paper costumes as Pilgrims, Native Americans or turkeys, Johnson said.

“They’ll make little cornucopias, with pickles and carrots, and then they make a trail mix and have popcorn,” Johnson said. “It’ll be fun.”

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