"What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?"
That's the question the Dispatch recently posed to four elementary classrooms of students in Little Falls, Pillager, Pine River and Pequot Lakes. They included second-graders in Karin Wolter's/Deanne Trottier's class at Eagle View Elementary School in Pequot Lakes, third-graders in Deb Goodrich's class at Lindbergh Elementary School in Little Falls, fourth-graders in Lee Aimers' class at Pine River Elementary School and fifth-graders in Josh Smith's class at Pillager Elementary School.
The students were grateful for many things, from their parents and family members, to their pets, to their faith and for their freedom. Many said they were thankful that they were born; others were happy for the small things in life that adults often can take for granted.
McKenzie Dale, a second-grader at Eagle View Elementary in Pequot Lakes, wrote that she is thankful for ponies, dragonflies, butterflies and for eating cookies at the dinner table. Her classmate, Timmy Hansen, said he is thankful for lizards because God made them.
"I am most thankful for having food on our table and being able to have seconds," said Adam Skogstad, a Pine River fourth-grader in Lee Aimers' class. "Some people can't afford anything. Having relatives that love me and that will love me forever."
"I am thankful for Dad, Mom and my brother and God," wrote Dawson Siemers, a Pequot Lakes second-grader. "I am thankful for my family and toys. I am thankful for Mason and Riley. I am thankful for the world. I am thankful for the Vikings games."
"I am thankful for freedom, life and our world," wrote Pequot Lakes second-grader Brody Box. "I am thankful for our country and state. I am thankful for faith. I am thankful for turkey. I am thankful for God. I am thankful for me."
Brandie White, a Pine River fourth-grader, said she will be spending Thanksgiving at her grandma's house where they have a big feast.
"After the big feast we take pictures," said White.
Most students said they planned to spend Thanksgiving with their families, often playing games with their cousins and siblings or watching football.
"Our family's tradition is sing, take pictures and dance to Thanksgiving songs," said Pine River fourth-grader Benjamin Snavely.
At Pine River fourth-grader Meghan Wheeler's Thanksgiving dinner at her grandparent's house, she said they all tell one another what they are thankful for.
A majority of the 25 third-graders in Deb Goodrich's class at Lindbergh Elementary School in Little Falls were thankful for their families. Many said they would be spending the day with family. The students also shared what they were going to eat for dinner, with most of them eating the traditional turkey feast.
Nine-year-old Steven Bartkowitz, Little Falls, said his family sits around the table and each person says what they are thankful for. His classmate Jacob Freitag, 8, Little Falls, said his family comes to his house every year. He said they get a free turkey every year from Coborn's.
Levi Vaagenes, 8, Little Falls, said, "I'm thankful for my family and for all the things they have done for me and for the soldiers fighting to keep our country safe. I like to watch the Thanksgiving parade on T.V."
There were 17 fifth-graders in Josh Smith's class at Pillager Elementary School who shared what they were thankful for. Many of the students were again thankful for their families and also life.
Patrick Fisher, 10, Pillager, said "I'm thankful for life. Without life I wouldn't be writing this now. I'm thankful for my mom and dad because they gave me life. I'm thankful for their mom and dad and their mom and dad and so on."
Ariel Blowers, 10, Motley, said she was thankful for her dog that was born on Thanksgiving. Classmate Meagan Fell, 10, Pillager, said she was thankful for her sweater because it keeps her warm.
Alex Holbrook, 10, Pillager, said on Thanksgiving his family plays Monopoly and they have a blast.
"On Thanksgiving I will have company at my house," explained Pequot Lakes second-grader Colleen Tschida. "We will pray and then we will eat our lunch. After that we will eat a pie. We will have a very happy Thanksgiving!"
Pine River fourth-grade teacher Lee Aimers also shared his Thanksgiving Day plans.
"Every year at Thanksgiving, our family has the traditional feast," said Aimers. "Afterward, we watch National Lampoon's 'Christmas Vacation.' We all laugh heartily, even though we've seen it a lot. We used to play football, but at our ages the movie is safer."
Pequot Lakes second-grader Margaret Heggerston summed up Thanksgiving this way:
"We should be happy of what we have on Earth today," the second-grader explained. "I am thankful for parents. They will always love me. That's what we have Thanksgiving for -- to be thankful for what we have."
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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