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Grateful for a chance to be here

Gordon students are always ready to count their blessings and talk about gratitude.


That makes Thanksgiving a bit of a high holiday around here.


Eighth graders ushered in the season by organizing the Turkey Trot for the Middle School.


The around-the-school everybody-in foot race kicks off a food drive that benefits families at Pleasant View Elementary. more photos


It's part of an ongoing relationship with Pleasant View, which serves as a site for the eighth grade's annual service learning project.


This year's drive helped complete Thanksgiving dinner for fifty families.


In Kindergarten red group, the food drive provided an intriguing writing challenge.


Along with their groceries, fifty Pleasant View families will receive carefully wrought notes from the class.


As the food drive was playing out, Young Kindergarten was having an extended lesson in gratitude.


For them, hosting a Thanksgiving dinner was an opportunity to give thanks to adults in the school community.


It was a week's worth of lessons, in literacy, math, leadership and social skills, all documented on Gordon's blog, Rhode Island Monthly's blog and Gordon's Flickr page.


One thing that was difficult to convey online? Each five-year-old took their responsibilities as hosts very seriously, carefully lavishing attention on their invited guests.


They talked without rambling, laughed without getting silly, and made each their chosen adults feel like the most interesting people in the room.


On Tuesday, students in every grade wrote affirmations of gratitude on construction-paper leaves.


They hung them in the Nelson Field House as they arrived for the all-school assembly.


The leaves included small kindnesses...


inside jokes...


daily comforts...


life-changing miracles...


and grand gestures of love.


The assembly was a celebration of community, with dozens of voices coming together, bookended by two singalongs.


In the middle of the assembly, one voice took center stage. 


A seventh grader got up to share a poem she had written, in response to Billy Collins' The Lanyard.


It was a deeply personal story, but her message of gratitude was familiar to everyone in the room:

I’m so grateful to stand in these halls
to stand tall and proud
I’m so grateful to try new things 
new things everyday
I’m so grateful to be able to take a stand
a stand for something I believe in

by coming here I’ve found a community
a community that stands strong
by coming here I’ve found a home
where no one is left behind
by coming here I have an opportunity
and I’m prepared to seize it


This video caught her rehearsing her words.


But it does not capture the roar of applause that greeted her when she finished.


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