Story and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Haisley Elementary’s “I Am Thankful” assembly has been a day-before-Thanksgiving holiday tradition for more than 20 years.
On Tuesday afternoon, in front of a whole lot of smiling parents, they did it again.
The event is a chance for the fifth graders and kindergarteners who are matched all year as reading/learning buddies to get up on stage together and announce what each is thankful for this year.
Fifth grade teacher Jim Weindorf says that students, teachers and parents alike enjoy the assembly, which is always a full house.
He says the annual event not only highlights Haisley’s buddy partnerships, it is also the first performance for many kindergarteners—and this year, pre-K.
“Most fifth graders remember when they were kindergarteners and were in the assembly, and they truly love working with younger students. For kindergarteners, these relationships help make them feel safe in their new school.”
“For me, it’s their tiny voices sharing many good reasons to be thankful. It’s uplifting.”
Kindergarten teacher Elana Levine agreed that the students enjoy the assembly because they’re with their buddies.
“It adds to the bond they develop,” she said. “Seeing it come full circle for many students is really amazing. Haisley is wonderful community with wonderful traditions, and this one is very special.”
Levine said the students are typically thankful for things like their families and their friends, and sometimes they mention objects such as toys or flowers. By the time they get to fifth grade, their thank you list has grown to include things such as technology and world peace, she said.
The assembly also included a song by the second graders, and ended wit
h an all-school rendition of —what else?—“Over the River and Through the Woods.”