CHAZY — This Thanksgiving, Dale Gonyo is grateful for the things in life that some people take for granted.
The fourth-grader, who attends Chazy Elementary School, is most appreciative of "just having shelter and a family and stuff like that."
Of course, the 9-year-old is also looking forward to eating his favorite Thanksgiving dish: stuffing.
"My whole family comes to my house, and we just have dinner and talk, and it's just fun," he said.
The Press-Republican recently spoke with Dale and several other fourth- and fifth-graders at his school about being thankful, eating turkey and how Thanksgiving came to be.
Aengus Andrew, 9, knows the holiday originated with "pilgrims doing something."
Those pilgrims, the fourth-grader added, were "celebrating something that I'm not really sure of."
According to classmate Benny deOndarza, the first Thanksgiving took place when the pilgrims harvested their first crops.
"When the pilgrims came, the Indians — I mean the Native Americans — they helped them plant crops, so they could get their harvest in the fall and survive their winter," he explained.
Fifth-grader Colby Drake, on the other hand, doesn't know who started Thanksgiving, but imagines it began about 200 years ago.
"I guess I think in, like, the 1800s they just came up with it," he said.
Fifth-grader Pier Morin also thinks that first celebration may have had something to do with pilgrims and Native Americans; though, he likely wouldn't bet on it.
After all, the 11-year-old said, "I haven't seen any movies about that lately."
As for why turkey has become a Thanksgiving staple, fifth-grader Emma Smith believes the answer is simple: "Because it tastes good."
Fellow fifth-grader Olivia McLennan, however, believes there's more to the tradition than just the flavor of the bird.
"It's just a kind of meat that probably takes longer to eat, so you probably have it on special events," the 10-year-old said.
Another theory is that the bird was underappreciated, and giving it its own holiday was a sure way to remedy the situation.
"They just said that not many people eat turkey that often, so they just did it," Colby said.
It probably wouldn't be wise, however, to put the 10-year-old in charge of preparing the holiday bird, as he knows "not one thing" about roasting a turkey.
'GOOD WITH STUFFING'
"All I know is put the stuffing in," Pier said. "It's pretty good with stuffing."
Like Colby, Benny doesn't know how a turkey should be cooked, though, he's willing to learn.
"If I watch my mom this Thanksgiving, I will know," he said.
Dale, however, is quite knowledgeable about the turkey-cooking process, as he's helped his mother with it in the past.
"First you buy it and take all the guts and stuff out, and then you make the stuffing, and then you put it in the turkey," he said.
Some might want to add seasoning to the bird, Dale noted, before cooking it for an "hour, hour and a half."
But for those who find Dale's process too complicated, Olivia offered a one-step approach.
"Put it in the oven," she said.
GOOD REPORT CARD
One thing the students can agree on is that there's plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Benny, for example, is grateful to be doing well in school.
"I got a good report card for our first report card in fourth grade," he said.
In addition to her education, Emma noted, "I'm thankful for a roof over my head."
Meanwhile, Aengus appreciates his aunt coming from Alabama to spend the holiday with him.
"I'm probably most thankful for the family, like, just being together," Pier said.
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