St. Edmond Elementary held its annual ABC Thanksgiving event Wednesday.
Forty-seven of the school's first-graders told the story of the arrival of the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving during the half hour show, using a series of alphabetical stanzas, from A to Z.
"A is for America," students Andee Barwin and Kara McGonegle recited. "Many years ago the pilgrims came to America to find a new home where they could go to the church they wanted."
According to Connie Driscoll, first-grade teacher, the program incorporates more than one curriculum.
"They're practice their public speaking skills, they're memorizing and learning their verse, the A-B-Cs, they're learning history and it also covers art and music," she said.
The Thanksgiving program is a tradition for the Catholic school.
"We've been doing this for quite a few years," Driscoll said. "We're telling the story of the pilgrims in their first year, coming over in the Mayflower, their struggles, how the Indians helped them and we get to the first Thanksgiving."
In preparing for the programs, the teachers get to see the students grow.
"It's the beginning of first-grade year, and yet every child is doing a great job. They get a lot of self-confidence," she said. "There's huge growth."
Much work went into preparing the program, Dee Nelson, first-grade teacher, said.
"I work with all three classes, and we've worked to prepare the history by reading books," she said. "They made books. We prepared the background. We talked about the things they had to do. When we put this altogether, it's the culminating activity for the children to understand this."
The students enjoy putting on a show, Nelson said.
"They look forward to it," she said. "It's really challenging because of the amount of time we have to do it, but they were all very proud and I think they did an excellent job."
Not only did the students learn about Thanksgiving, Nelson said, they were preparing themselves for future events.
"It's a good experience for the children. At the end of the year, all three classes will put on one mass for the liturgy at the end of the year," she said. "Putting them on the stage and seeing all the people, I think they really enjoy it."
Nelson said the Thanksgiving program also gives students something fun to anticipate.
"They remembered last year when they were in the kindergarten," she said. "They had that to look forward to."
For Driscoll, it is a fun program to prepare for and watch every year.
"Every class is different, and every time you see that growth happen it's very cool," she said. "You see the growth, you see them blossom, conquer stage fright, and they do it all by themselves."