Oak Mountain kindergarteners give thanks

Published 4:30 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

Inverness Elementary School kindergarteners celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast on Nov. 18. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

Inverness Elementary School kindergarteners celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast on Nov. 18. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—Kindergarteners at the two Oak Mountain elementary schools took a break from their routines to recognize Thanksgiving with fun and feasts Nov. 18-20.

On Nov. 18 and 19, Inverness Elementary School kindergarteners donned homemade headdresses and spent the day participating in Thanksgiving-themed classroom activities.

“It’s just a nice tradition before Thanksgiving break to get parents together with their kids,” IES Principal Christine said, noting parents assisted students create headdresses and select Native American names for the Thanksgiving celebration.

Students also shared a Thanksgiving feast of a variety of food provided by parents, from traditional Native American foods to cornbread.

“We have families from all over,” IES kindergarten teacher Amy Kleback said. “They brought in things that they like.”

For kindergartener Emma Rose Debeljuh, the celebration was a new experience. The child of Christian missionaries, Debeljuh has spent all of her Thanksgivings abroad.

“We’re so thankful to be back for this one year,” Kelly Debeljuh, Emma Rose’s mother, said. “We are excited she gets to be here in a class to learn about the holiday.”

A few miles away, Oak Mountain Elementary School was full of Thanksgiving spirit. On Nov. 20, the entire kindergarten gathered in the cafeteria for the school’s annual Thanksgiving feast.

“We’ve been doing this really for about 18 years,” OMES kindergarten teacher Janice Lazarre said of the longstanding OMES tradition.

The feast capped off a three-week study of Native American culture. Starting Nov. 1, students in each kindergarten class learned about the history and customs of Native American tribes across the country. They also learned 10 Native American songs, created headdresses, Native American-inspired shirts and more.

“Its really indepth,” Lazarre said.

But the Nov. 20 feast was not just about school, students also reflected on the things they were thankful for.

“(I’m thankful) for nature, because it gives us everything,” kindergartener Annie Knezek said.

Knezek’s classmate Katherine Graham said she was thankful for her mother, and added that she was excited to spend Thanksgiving with her Mimi.

Fellow kindergartener Abby Hageman said she was most thankful for her friends and the fun they have together.

“This is huge, it’s really the best thing we do all year for kindergarten,” Lazarre said.