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Valley Independent reporter seeks Thanksgiving advice at Marion Elementary

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From left to right: Dominic Moncini, Ava Scalise, Jaxson Bozek, Kaitlyn Waldmann, and Madison McKenrick Of Mrs. Ambrose's first grade class at Marion Elementary, helped give tips on how to make Thanksgiving memorable on Thursday, November 21, 2013.

About Jeremy Sellew

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By Jeremy Sellew

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 5:45 p.m.

Over the years, a certain Valley Independent reporter has feasted on two or three dinners per Thanksgiving holiday.

In a quest for tips on how to go about making his own Thanksgiving feast, he went searching for tips – from a roomful of 6- and 7-year-old first-graders at Marion Elementary in the Belle Vernon Area School District.

First and foremost, what's the most delicious thing for this guy to make? Turkey, right?

“I don't like turkey,” Connor Blatnik said. “Because it's brown.”

Nearly everyone recommended stuffing.

“It's delicious,” Madison McKenrick said. “Mashed potatoes, too.”

“Definitely mashed potatoes,” Ava Scalise added.

Emily Karbowsky went the vegetable route.

“My favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving is mushrooms. That's it,” she quipped.

The students were eager to share what they like best about the day.

Jaxson Bozek is eagerly anticipating time off from school.

“Well, the dinner is the best thing,” Evelyn Billy suggested.

Dylan Johnston likes what comes after dinner: “Sleeping!”

The reporter wondered about where to find a turkey. “Walmart,” Evelyn said. “They have all the other things you need, too.”

“Giant Eagle is the place,” Jayden Zapora said. “Good ones there ... a lot.”

Noah Simmons said he does not eat ordinary turkeys.

“Someone goes and gets them from the woods and gives them to you,” he said.

Turkeys can be violent if they know what you want them for, the students warned.

“Well the first thing they'd say to you is, ‘I hate you,'” Emily said.

“Then the turkey will tackle you,” Dominic Moncini said.

Dylan said turkeys will issue this warning: “Don't eat me, or I'll eat you.”

The reporter moved on to a student favorite: Stuffing.

“Well you need stuffing,” Dante Fox-White matter-of-factly said.

The reporter wanted to know about the ingredients in stuffing.

“That's easy. I know,” Jennifer Hill chimed in. “Chicken and meat.”

“I think there's peanuts in it, too,” Jayden said.

“... And chocolate,” Johnathan Huang added.

Told that they could put anything they wanted inside their respective turkeys, the students responded with vigor.

Dominic, one of many video game lovers in the bunch, would seek all the chocolate and whipped cream he could get his little hands on to ram into his main course.

Ava would go for cookies and ice cream, while Noah and Madison would choose chocolate pie stuffing and chocolate pudding, respectively.

Over the river

It seems many will be on the move for Thanksgiving.

“We go to my pap's house,” Jack Chovan said.

Kaitlyn Waldmann will stay at home with her mom.

Little helpers will be at work when it comes to the Thanksgiving feast.

Jennifer helps “get the guts out” of her turkey, and Evelyn helps stuff it.

Keegan Vince might have the most important job before the real job.

“I make scrambled eggs to eat before we eat,” he said. “Breakfast before dinner.”

Hannah Houseman helps mash the potatoes while Jayden makes sure he carries the “exactly 18-pound turkey” into the kitchen. He's not sure where it is prior to the kitchen.

Relatives apparently can add flavor to holiday meals.

Dominic must always be on guard; he never knows when his little sister, Emma, will attack. Meanwhile, Ava's cousin, Delaney, takes the prize at her family's Thanksgiving dinner.

Madison's cousins from Indiana and Oklahoma come to visit, and they can get a little wild, she said.

The reason to feast

The reporter had other important questions.

“Why do we do it?” he asked. “Why do we all get together?”

“Because it's your family,” Ava responded.

“Or your friends,” Madison added. “That's what I'm thankful for.”

Johnathan said he's thankful for his parents, as did Kaitlyn and quiet Alexa Gillingham.

“My family takes care of me, so I'm thankful for that ... and my computer,” Kaitlyn said.

Asked if others were thankful for their families, many hands flashed toward the ceiling.

“There's other things, too,” Dominic said. “My iPad, Xbox, and Wii, too.”

Jennifer is thankful for the entire world, and Jack's glad to have his cat, Sid. Hopefully, Sid never meets Emily's goldfish, Goldie, who she's thankful for “every day.”

Dylan, Connor, Jaxson, Noah, and many others expressed thanks for their video gaming systems.

Last but not least, their teacher, Shannon Ambrose, needed to add how thankful she is for her niece, Kenzie, her now-official husband, Jeffrey, and her family.

It was then that the reporter realized that kids today are in good shape with the proper mentoring.

And then something else hit him.

He didn't need to have his own feast, he's had the most important thing all along.

Somewhere to go. ... No matter if it is one, two, or three different places.

And he's been thankful to have it for 35 years growing up. He just had to go back and look at it through 6- and 7-year-old eyes.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.



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