VES students give thanks for freedom, family and friends

Second grader Juliet Carden hugs her grandmother Margaret Johnson at Valley Elementary School's Thanksgiving lunch on Nov. 21. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Second grader Juliet Carden hugs her grandmother Margaret Johnson at Valley Elementary School’s Thanksgiving lunch on Nov. 21. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Valley Elementary School second graders took a break from their busy school day to enjoy a special Thanksgiving lunch with their families and loved ones on Nov. 21.

Ryan Funderburk was joined by his parents, Tim and Erika, at the Nov. 21 lunch at VES. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Ryan Funderburk was joined by his parents, Tim and Erika, at the Nov. 21 lunch at VES. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Each grade level at VES was given a day for their Thanksgiving lunch. Kindergarteners celebrated first on Monday, Nov. 17, first graders were joined by their loved ones on Wednesday, Nov. 19 and the second grade enjoyed Thanksgiving lunch on Nov. 21.

In it’s fourth year as a tradition at VES, the Thanksgiving lunches were attended by more than 600 visitors, VES Front Office Secretary Melanie Sherer said.

“It’s parents, grandparents, siblings, anyone (the students) want to bring,” Sherer said. “It is very special for them, they get so excited when they see (their family members and loved ones)…it’s something everyone looks forward to.”

The cafeteria was packed with families filling school lunch trays with thanksgiving food and eating together at lunch tables.

“It’s turkey and dressing, green beans, sweet potato casserole and rolls; and we had a garden salad and a fruit mix,” VES Lunch Room Manager LaDonna Lovejoy said of the day’s menu. “It means a lot of work, but it’s really went well.”

Second grader Ryan Funderburk enjoyed lunch with his parents, Tim and Erika. Without hesitation, Ryan said he was thankful for “freedom.” He added he was happy to have his family join him at lunch.

Emanuel Cardenas sat with his mother, Veronica, and his friend Patrick Darrenkammp.

“I’m thankful for my family,” Emanuel said.

“This is special,” Veronica added of the Thanksgiving lunch.

“I’m thankful for my family and friends,” Juliet Carden said as she ate with her grandmother Margaret Johnson, adding she was looking forward to spending time with her family on Thanksgiving Day. “I’m going to my aunt’s house and hanging out with my family.”

Johnson said she was “most definitely” grateful for the chance to spend lunch with her granddaughter.