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A time-honored tradition

JULIE SUTOR
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Pilgrim Bridget O'Brien takes a swig of cider between bites of her Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday morning in her first grade class at Breckenridge elementary.
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SUMMIT COUNTY – The juicy, golden-brown turkey sits at the heart of America’s Thanksgiving traditions. But for youngsters, the holiday would be just as incomplete without the ritual of donning Pilgrim hats and Native American garb – fashioned mostly from construction paper – for a role-play of the first Thanksgiving.

Children at Summit County’s elementary schools took a step back in time this week to learn about the lives of the English settlers at Plymouth and of the Wampanoags.”It’s important to remember the Pilgrims and the Indians, and that anything is possible as long as you work together,” said Breckenridge Elementary second-grader Liam Kilgore.

Liam and his classmates spent the week discussing life in New England in the mid-1600s, including the English settlers’ journey across the Atlantic.”There were three parts of the Mayflower where they had to put their luggage,” said 7-year-old Maggie Scott. “Sometimes the kids had to dump out the chamber pots, and they were heavy and smelly.”

Second-grade teachers Jeff Meehan and Karen Tice treated the students to an authentic Mayflower-style meal, complete with moldy cheese (bleu cheese), dried peas, stale bread, stale water (water with lemon and green food coloring), dried meat (beef jerky) and a few extra dinner guests (plastic bugs).

Down the hall, Breckenridge first-graders, teachers and parents held a “First Thanksgiving Feast,” during which little Pilgrims and Wampanoags came together over turkey and all the modern trimmings.”I wouldn’t like to be a Pilgrim,” said Olivia Roy, 6. “You would have to wear the same clothes for 66 days.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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