The central theme for the month of November has been gratitude, because from our students to our corps, we at City Year New Hampshire have a great many things to appreciate. During the month of November, most of the classes in our schools incorporate lesson plans that encompass the traditions of Thanksgiving. For example, at McDonough Elementary, the third grade classes all learned about Squanto and the Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock. To go along with the theme of tradition, the McDonough third grade classes have a tradition that they partake in every year before the Thanksgiving holiday break where each class re-enacts the story. This year, Mr. Mancuso’s class was selected to perform the story as a play in front of the entire third grade.
My fellow teammate Mr. Mancuso says “I am thankful for the dedication my students showed while working on their play.” His students embraced the experience of performing in a play and gave it their all. Since they were enjoying it so much, they told Mr. Mancuso and their teacher that they not only wanted to perform the play for their parents and peers, but they wanted to perform it for the fourth and fifth graders as well! It was a joy to see all of the students so excited about reading and memorizing their lines, and learning about their characters so they could know the proper way to get in character.
“Ms. G., remember, the play starts exactly at 9:15! Don’t be late, or you’ll miss it!” one of the students reminded me the morning of her big performance.
The second half of this annual tradition is when all of the third graders gather together for a pancake breakfast, that their teachers and City Year corps members prepare at the beginning of the day, while watching Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving.
“All the kids were so excited to try them after they had to smell us making them all morning! The smiles on their faces were priceless,” another third grade corps member, Camilla Breitholtz, stated.
The genuine excitement of the students that surfaced from this part of the tradition was astounding and monumental. Pancakes and a movie: something that seemed so simple for me was pivotal to their day and maybe even month.
Being so far away from home, the McDonough community has continuously provided a comforting and familial atmosphere that has kept me grounded. I am extremely thankful for not only my third graders, but all the students and staff who welcome me with open arms every day.