Principal Carolyn Ingram was just one of several chaperones for a multitude of visitors to the school. Parking was at a premium, with some visitors forced to park along the roadside.
Some took part in a Thanksgiving meal, while others watched as their children and grandchildren celebrated with songs and skits.
Courtney Robbins’ kindergarten class was a perfect example of the hectic pace of the holiday seasons during the final two months of the calendar year.
As soon as her class completed its Thanksgiving Day presentation with a skit, poem and songs — with some parents still in the classroom — the students and their teacher began decorating their Christmas tree!
Robbins, who was celebrating the Thanksgiving season in the Yates setting for the 10th consecutive year, said her students worked hard getting ready for their Thanksgiving program. “They wrote their own stories and they’ve been looking forward to this celebration,” she said.
They were just as eager later to decorate the Christmas tree.
The students’ stories were about living a fictitious life as an Indian youth. Each gave themselves a Native American name and related a series of adventures in that persona.
The young ladies got into the theme of the program with names like Pocahontas, Star, Heart and others which described a young Indian girl.
The boys apparently did not fully understand the historical exercise. Their Indians names included Spiderman, Green Tiger, Indian Power Ranger, Batman and Indian Superman. One who came close was young Micah Horst, who’s Indian name was Hoo Hoo Haw.
Robbins’ class concluded its program with a song entitled “Things I’m Thankful For” — a musical rendition which portrayed the meaning of this season of the year.
One young lady in one of the classrooms at Yates had something very unique to be thankful for. “I’m thankful for oxygen,” she said.
Several teachers had special programs in their classrooms. First-year teachers Chelsea Bancroft and Emily Foggin merged their two kindergarten classes and celebrated together, performing a brief skit for the enjoyment of parents and family members.
The students then adjourned to their individual classrooms to eat, with family members following behind with plates of traditional holiday food prepared by the teachers and some parents.
The students in Robbins’ kindergarten, located between the classrooms of Bancroft and Foggin, were somewhat taken aback when they returned from lunch in the cafeteria and saw the hallway filled with Thanksgiving revelers.
Among the courses prepared for the meal were some dishes probably not included in the original Thanksgiving feast, including macaroni and cheese.
During a brief break between the first feast of the day, Ingram selected a group of students to pose for a photo with food items collected by the students.
The nonperishable food items were collected for The Caring Place and the outreach ministry of Wesley United Methodist Church. Collected food included 15 bags of rice and 28 jars of peanut butter.
During the noon luncheon hour, the classes of Maria Meadors, Marlyss Corriher and Margie Ginn combined with a Thanksgiving meal in the cafeteria. It was attended by a huge assortment of “Indians” and “Pilgrims” seated across the table from one another, much like the original Thanksgiving feasts in 1621.
The students, who had been delayed from their regular 11 a.m. meal, were fed first. Parents, friends and faculty members got the leftovers.
Following the noontime feast in the cafeteria, a number of visiting family members journeyed to Dee Morris’ kindergarten room for another Indian-Thanksgiving program.
Much like the program in Robbins’ classroom earlier, Morris’ students had written their own stories and performed skits in costumed character.
A major difference for this program was Morris solicited the assistance of four former students to read the stories as the kindergarteners paraded across the stage. Second-graders Leah Kiser, Kate Shumaker, Ben Gilliland and Rishi Soni donated their time and reading talents to the program.
Another classroom, or two, had programs later in the day as Yates Primary concluded its pre-Thanksgiving festivities.
Now, all classrooms (and their teachers) will join Robbins’ students in planning ahead for Christmas.