From Pilgrims to Pumpkins

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving: it's turkey and all the trimmings, Macy's annual parade, football games wall-to-wall, playing with cousins and getting hugs from aunts and grandmas.

Yet, even youngsters realize Thanksgiving is about more than just good food, fun and games.

Why do we celebrate the holiday in the first place?

The Greenville Advocate asked that question of a group of gifted third graders from across Butler County last week.

The youngsters, who attend Robert L. Austin Elementary in Georgiana, Greenville Elementary and McKenzie School, have been learning all about the first Thanksgiving from teacher Lisa Peavy during their weekly sessions at the Butler County Community and Education Center in Greenville.

Through puppet shows, shadow boxes and other special projects, the students learned about celebrating the first Thanksgiving.

They shared with the newspaper some of the details of the long-ago beginnings of a beloved American holiday.

Lauren Gibson and Devin Gavin of Greenville Elementary School presented a shadow box featuring tiny figures of Pilgrims and Indians, the key players in that first celebration.

Things certainly didn't start off well for those New England settlers, the children said.

n &#8220The Pilgrims landed in the winter. It was cold and there was not enough food.”

n &#8220Some of them died.”

Friends made all the difference, however.

n &#8220But the Indians helped them. They showed them how to make the soil better so they could grow crops.”

n &#8220And so they had three days of feasting.”

n &#8220Deer meat and turkey!”

Ms. Peavy interjected: &#8220Did they have pumpkin pie?”

The students paused to muse over this question.

&#8220No sugar and no stoves, so probably not. Maybe they had pumpkin stew,” their teacher noted.

&#8220I want everybody to take a piece of paper and write down three things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving,” Ms. Peavy instructed.

With some biting of lips, scratching of heads and tugging of pigtails, the classroom full of kids soon had their lists made. Here's what they said they are thankful for this holiday season.

As you will see, some found much more than just three things to say &#8220thank you” for:

n Mom and Dad, God and the world. – Winston Sims, GES

n Food, water, shelter, warmth, technology and computers. LaRoy Crittenden, MHS

n School, soldiers and paintball guns. – Mack Thomas Acree, GES

n Parents, food, house, God and soldiers. – Katelyn Fuller, RLA

n Family, dog, home, food and my life. – Lauren Gibson, GES

n My parents, my brother, my go-cart. – Seth Kelley, RLA

n My family, gifted teachers and Mr. Ben. – Madison McNaughton, GES

n Mom, food and my house. – Parie Dixon, RLA

n Home, sister and clothes. – Eian Davis, GES

n Parents, pets, intelligence. – Andy Colvin, RLA

n House, water, food. – Mollie Boutwell, GES

n My home, clothes, family, life and my teachers. – Salani Patel, GES

n My family, friends, teachers. – Mary Glenn Fuller, GES

n My house, family, friends, God, country, teachers and soldiers. – Courtney Danztler, GES

n I'm proud I've got a big brother and little brother, a house, and my mom and dad. – Tracy Franklin, GES

n Family, home, friends and food. – Judarion Davidson, RLA

n Being in the world, having a shelter, having family, friends and cousins. – Wyatt Yang, GES

n My family, house and teachers.

n Artillia Owens, RLA

n My parents, my clothes, life, and God. – A’yana Cook, GES

n My family, friends, food, shelter and waking up. –

Jada Croxton, GES

n A home to live in, clothes to wear, a great family, a great bed to lay in, God, my country and life. – Kaitlin Graves, GES

n A house and school, parents and friends. –

Michaela Smith, GES

n My family, school and my teachers. – Devin Gavin, GES

n My parents, food, school, my life, God and teachers. – Jennyfer Maciel, GES

n My family, pets, friends, God, country, money, clothes, house, school, teachers, food, flowers and eating with my family. – Emily Foster, GES

Regarding their Thanksgiving holidays this week, the children are looking forward to a fine time, they said: Seeing family members they don't often get to spend time with; eating pumpkin and sweet potato pie ; going hunting; eating turkey; playing with friends and family members, and oh, yes, another helping of that turkey, please: all are Thanksgiving experiences eagerly anticipated.

&#8220Making memories,” one little girl said with a smile.

From the gifted third graders of Butler County's public school system, here is hoping you have a happy Thanksgiving full of good memories.