Thanksgiving and Gratitude

By Gary Stern, COO and Director of Grades 3-6

At the height of our nation's Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation creating the Thanksgiving holiday as an expression of gratitude for life's "gracious gifts" bestowed upon us all. A reflection of our shared bonds, President Lincoln ushered in the Thanksgiving holiday by declaring the following: "It has seemed to me fit and proper that (our gracious gifts) should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving."

In celebration of Thanksgiving and our commitment to serving others, 1st graders performed a Thanksgiving dance, sang a turkey song, and recited poems for their parents. At the “Performance and Pies” celebration, students also spent time with their parents, decorating Thanksgiving bags for the Food Pantry, packing the bags with traditional side dish items for the Lowman School families, and enjoying a pie dessert.

Third grade students spent time reflecting on their school community. Handmade cards of gratitude were distributed to the faculty and staff members of Laurence.

Fifth grade students continued their "Thanksgiving in a Bag" tradition. Their families donated Thanksgiving foods – stuffing, vegetables, and the like – and packaged them in bags with handmade cards. More than 50 bags were donated to the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry.

Sixth graders led the annual Turkey Drive, a community service project for our friends at the Lowman Special Education and Career Transition Center. They collected over 180 frozen turkeys, generously donated by our community. The festivities continued with a hearty Thanksgiving feast, followed by our Gratitude Celebration. Parents were invited to join their children, teachers, and administration for lunch. Then we all came together in a large circle to share what we are thankful for at this time of year.

In the midst of these unprecedented times, the Thanksgiving holiday carries even greater meaning and significance. Thanksgiving provides the opportunity to affirm how tremendously important it is to keep gratitude in our hearts throughout the year—gratitude for friends, family, and the close-knit Laurence community. We wish you and your families a fulfilling and memorable Thanksgiving holiday celebrating life's "gracious gifts" President Lincoln referenced.

Collage of images from community service and thanksgiving activities