G.T. Norman first-graders celebrate Thanksgiving early

REED CITY — The smell of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy drifted in the air.

First-graders at G.T. Norman Elementary School celebrated Thanksgiving together, continuing a tradition about a decade old.

Students in Kylene Nix’s class were anxious to have their turkey-themed plates filled with the traditional Thanksgiving food.

“We’ve been doing this for about 10 years,” she said. “It’s really fun for the kids and they get to help make the meal by bringing in the ingredients that we need.”

Nix said students played an integral part in making the meal, from shaking the cream to make butter to helping cook the stuffing and pumpkin pies.

“All the students did this together,” she said. “We used to have the meal for all the students in the cafeteria, but having it in the classroom this year is a bit more intimate for the kids to share their lunch together.”

First-grader Alexa Hansen said her favorite part was having mashed potatoes and gravy for the dinner.

“It was good,” she said, as others in her class were went back for a second helping.

Along with making the meal, students also were responsible for looking the part, creating headbands, vests and necklaces to represent the Wampanoag, as they learned about the Pilgrims and Native Americans in social studies class.

“They are leaning about the life of the early settlers and Native Americans,” she said, “and comparing life now to a child who lived back in that time. They really get to appreciate what they have and are thankful for it.”

First-grader Cheyne Eveland was eager to share he liked the food during the Thanksgiving meal.

“I even tried some venison,” he boasted.