Students share food, football and
making memories with family


TRI-CITY AREA — Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for many as they gather around a table filled with luscious, piping hot food that is fit for a king.

Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, is based on the colonial Pilgrims’ 1621 harvest meal.

President Abraham Lincoln saw to it that the holiday stayed intact, declaring Thanksgiving be a national holiday. The holiday continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day of feasting, football and family and not necessarily in that order.

Most of us know the story of the Colonial Pilgrims and the Mayflower, coming to North America and being met by gracious Native Americans.

Fifth and sixth grade students from the four public school districts in the Tri-City coverage area took time out of their busy schedules to pen a few lines of what Thanksgiving means to them, or how the holiday came to be, in their opinion.

We hope you enjoy these comments and point of views from some of our younger clan.


Imlay City middle school students took time to reflect, sharing the following:

11-year- old Annabelle Beischer said, “Thanksgiving is a time to tell your family what you’re thankful for. It’s a time when you have all your family members gathered around the table waiting to eat all the delicious food your mom has made, the pie your great grandma made, and you can’t forget the turkey! Before me and my family eat, we say grace.”

Cole Bontrager, an 11-year-old sixth grader wrote, “Thanksgiving truly means to me about how the Native Americans shared their feast with the Plymouth colonists. So I think Thanksgiving is about sharing your feast to someone in dire need just like the Native Americans in 1621.”

Isabelle Parmelee, an 11-year old middle school student feels, “Thanksgiving means to me that it is a time to thank others and love others. It also is a reminder that Christmas is coming! God made theses seasons to love and thank others for all they do!”

11-year-old Ember Nash said, “Thanksgiving to me is more than just a time to eat a lot of food. I believe that Thanksgiving is meaningful because of the family you spend this day with. It’s a time to get together with family that might not live too close to you.”

11-year-old Tristan Spreeman said, “Thanksgiving means a happy time in my household. For example we make tons of food and do nothing all day.”

Savannah Waterman, an 11-year- old Imlay City middle school sixth grader wrote, “Thanksgiving means so much to me. The most important thing is spending time with my family. Thanksgiving is a time I cherish very much.”

Classmate Mia Zepeda, another 11-year-old sixth grader thought, “We celebrate Thanksgiving to give thanks, but isn’t it when the Pilgrims killed the Native Americans and ate their food?”

12-year-old Preston Schreur is thankful for the special holiday, “Thanksgiving is a holiday where you say “Thank you!” for having the things we have like a home, food, family, etc. I think Thanksgiving is an amazing holiday to be thankful for the things you have and not take them for granted.”

Lydia Nerkowski, a 12-year-old sixth grader felt Thanksgiving means that I get to see my dad’s side of the family and I never get to do that. So I get to catch up with family.”

Finally, from Imlay City, perhaps a special comment with a tie in to Thanksgiving with the Presidential connection, 11-year-old Mallory Newell writes, “Thanksgiving means a lot to me because I love spending time with my family and it is also my birthday. And fun fact,.,every 4 years (every time we get a new president) my birthday falls on Thanksgiving!”


Students have plenty to be thankful in the Dryden school district, as three classes took time out to share their thoughts about Thanksgiving in their own words.

Here are a few of the responses from three different classes.

From Mrs. Howell’s sixth grade class, Sullivan Brown wrote Thanksgiving meant, “A war because it could be about those that had lost their lives and the people who were injured.”

Fellow sixth grader Kaden Bullock, said, “Thanksgiving is a day you give thanks for things. What Thanksgiving means to me is to give thanks for the food you eat and your family. What I think happened at the first Thanksgiving was the Pilgrims and the Native Americans combined. They also had some turkey and they were giving thanks for the food they ate.”

Jacob Cooper shared, “I think the natives and pilgrims met up and both natives and pilgrims brought food. I think that there was one huge table that the food that was brought was put on. I think the name “thanksgiving” was named that because when the pilgrims came they didn’t know what to do. They couldn’t grow food, they couldn’t hunt, but then they met the natives and the natives helped them grow food and hunt so the Pilgrims were thankful hence “thanksgiving.”

Samantha Montney, another sixth grader stated, “Thanksgiving means getting together and spending time with your family. On the first Thanksgiving the Indians and the people that arrived brought food and they ate together.”

Celine Nguyen wrote “It means to me a day where you are thankful for the things you have. I think they had Thanksgiving with their city that they live in. I think the reason why there is a turkey for thanksgiving is because that was the only thing they can shoot and eat in the area.”

Aiden Tyrkus, spoke reality of years gone by when it comes to the Detroit Lions and Thanksgiving Day. “What Thanksgiving means to me is a time off of school. Time to see family I don’t get to see except once a year or two – three times a year and to watch the Lions get destroyed.”

Meanwhile, Allie Vermander has the holiday figured out and explained, “Thanksgiving means sitting at a table with your family eating dinner, and having fun with your family. I think on the first thanksgiving people brought dinner and sat down and ate together.”

Carter Wrobel, another sixth grade student shared, “Thanksgiving means a lot to me like love,family, food and so much more.”

Sixth grader Hayley Yacheson said, “Thanksgiving means that we thank or we appreciate what we have. At Thanksgiving we eat a lot of food, such as turkey, ham, filling, eggs, etc. those are some traditional foods I eat at Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, I get to see my family come together and celebrate the holiday.

Mrs. Birkett’s 5th Grade class had plenty to share about their thoughts of Thanksgiving, starting with 10-year-old Madelyn Yatros who said, “Thanksgiving means to be together. It does not have to be a big dinner because we’re all together. I think it is just supposed to be about spending time with each other.

Liliana Lumsden, 10 years old, said she thought fashion was a thing in the early years. “At the first Thanksgiving I think that the people made a different type of food than we eat now and they played different games. They wore different stuff like dresses and more. They had a feast!”

10-year-old Bailey Johnson enjoys the family time, no matter what they are doing. “Thanksgiving means to have all the family together eating, talking, and having a good time. It does not have to be a big dinner as long as we have time where everybody is in the same house.”

Hailee Lamet, 10 years old, says, “On Thanksgiving you see your family. It means to have fun, to eat lots of good food and to enjoy with others. Also, to catch up on what they have been doing. We get to help cook good food and play fun board games. Lastly, you get to have friendsgiving.

10-year-old Styles Mendenhall feels “When Thanksgiving comes it is nice and peaceful to me. There are friends and family there. There might be people there that you have not seen in a long time. There will be lots of food for everyone.”

10-year-old Aidan Hopp is sure it was a feast where everyone got dressed up. “This is what I think happened at the first Thanksgiving. I think on the first Thanksgiving they ate and they talked. I think they wore fancy stuff and jewels and gold and other fancy stuff.”

Finally, in Mrs. Calvert’s 5th grade class, students felt they have a pretty good grip on what the holiday means to them.

Allycia Czanowicz, 10, “On the first Thanksgiving people got all of their family together and asked, “Can you bring food to this party I’m throwing?” When they brought the food they thanked the people for bringing food so it’s called Thanksgiving.”

Aliah Delmotte, 10, wrote, “I think Thanksgiving is very important because we can celebrate what we’re thankful for and what we appreciate. It’s very important for people to tell others what they’re thankful for.”

Jace Donnelly, 10, “What I think happened on the first Thanksgiving is that a bunch of people gathered and hunted for food for a feast that lasted for three days.”

Maxwell Gourieux, 10, says, “Thanksgiving is fun and cool. I get to eat lots of food and I get to see my family. It is one of my favorite holidays.”

Elise Roth, 10, “Thanksgiving is important to me because you can give thanks to people that you might not say thank you to that often so you and that person will feel better.”

Jackson Miller, 10, On the first Thanksgiving everyone got a lot of food and ate for three days straight.

Jaxson Newton, 10, said, “On Thanksgiving I think they had a big party with fruit and a lot of meat, with only like 20 people who were from two different tribes.”

Autumn Krotzer, 10, “Thanksgiving is more than a holiday to me, it is the power of being thankful for family and friends.”

Keith Wilkey, 10, “Thanksgiving is important to me because it is when I get to see my family. You may disagree with me but Thanksgiving is one
of the best holidays ever.”

Joshua Wilson, 11, “I think on the first Thanksgiving a war happened and no one died because they decided on peace.”

Colton Stein, 11, “I think that they had a feast that was a mile long for three days straight. There were probably 500 people there.”


Chloe Affeldt “Thanksgiving, to me, means getting together with my family and getting to know others that we never met before and making others happy. Normally we eat turkey, pecan pie, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, and most importantly, we have TURKEY.”

Ella Beck “To me, Thanksgiving means a time when families get together and have a big feast and watch football. Sometimes you go to your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and sometimes you have Thanksgiving at your house. Most of the time in my family we have it at my house, but this year we are having it at my grandparent’s house.”

Lyla C. “Thanksgiving is a holiday when my whole family gets together and has a delicious big meal. I love Thanksgiving because I get to see my family and have an amazing meal. Thanksgiving is celebrated because of the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims and others gathered somewhere and they harvested food so that they could have a big feast and others brought food, too.”

Lilliana Lopez “Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday where we take hands and pray and share what we’re thankful for. Take some time to thank those people who helped us. That’s part of the word Thanksgiving but what about giving? Some people can be struggling right now! Maybe go somewhere to donate. Donating is REALLY helpful to those who struggle. Go donate some old gloves, scarves, hats, and clothing! Now you are blessed with the amazing people around you. Go thank those people and give to others!”

Carissa “Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving revolved around the cultures of both the Pilgrims who sailed from England in 1620 and the Native Americans they encountered. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled after a 1621 harvest feast shared by the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. This holiday is celebrated to give thanks to the people who sailed from England then encountered the Americans.”

Rose E. “Thanksgiving can mean many things. To me, Thanksgiving means to show kindness and love to one another. My family and I do many activities together like watching football, helping with food, and playing outside. The main thing we do is celebrate with each other and have a huge dinner with everyone. We get to hang out with my cousins, my grandma, and other family members.”

NOTE: An invitation to participate in this project was also sent to Capac with no response. Some responses were edited due to length. Letters were randomly selected for publication.