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'Thankful for all that we have'

Students throughout Lake Oswego learn lessons of Thanksgiving history, gratitude and harvesting

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Hallinan Elementary School students Lillian Bradley (from left), Addison Sanchez and Sophia Gardner dress for a Thanksgiving feast and performance. Lucy Chollman learned more last week than any of the rest of us ever will.

“I’m learning about everything,” the Lake Grove Elementary kindergartener announced.

Lucy had just finished making a bracelet at one of several educational stations spread throughout Lake Grove’s gym before a special Thanksgiving feast. Her father, Bill Chollman, said one station taught the children “to identify different food products and whether you hunt, fish or grow them.”

But the kids learned all that in a fun, kindergarten-esque way. Volunteer Fred Fischer’s son, Keith, looked up from a station and smiled beatifically, saying softly, “We’re coloring.”

The annual event offers a cornucopia of lessons surrounding thankfulness and the harvest season. Other schools throughout Lake Oswego offer similar activities. The events arrive just in time for the November season of counting blessings and remembering the first Thanksgiving, when Native Americans offered food to undernourished pilgrims. REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Beckett Herer, a Hallinan kindergartener, gets a second helping of popcorn.

Melissa Crist was one among a quartet of teachers organizing the event for the four kindergarten classes at Lake Grove, with the help of several educational assistants and dozens of volunteers. As the children moved from table to table, they had the opportunity to interact with many adults they didn’t normally see. It was beneficial for them to experience different teaching styles and engage in hands-on learning, Crist said.

“They’re just bubbling with excitement,” she said.

Fischer said he was glad to be a part of it.

“I’m all about doing anything I can do to help further my kids’ education,” he said while keeping an eye on Keith and his twin sister, Alana. “It’s fun to be with little kids.”

The Lake Grove kindergarteners’ counterparts at Hallinan Elementary also sat down to a celebratory, educational feast, which featured a musical interlude of “Go My Son.”REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - First-grader Ari Waxman and special education instructor Vivian Springer chat while enjoying a Thanksgiving feast at Lake Grove Elementary.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Grove teacher's assistant Maggie Jank dons some festive garb. “This is a treasured event at Hallinan!” Principal Sara Deboy said. “Right from the beginning, we work to instill a sense of gratitude and thankfulness in our students. This is a great opportunity for our youngest to be examples for all of us. And the singing is pretty cute.”

Over at Lake Grove, Principal Carol Whitten said there are myriad lessons for the little ones to learn, including living in a fine community that cares about its smallest residents.

“It’s important for them to realize and be thankful for all that we have,” Whitten said.

Lucy and Keith definitely absorbed that lesson.

“I’m thankful for my teacher — and Santa,” Lucy said.

“My family,” Keith said, looking up at his dad.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
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