Climbing up the Old Oak Tree..

The feeling of the rough bark of a tree scraped the palms of my hands as I gripped it. The smell of the oak filled my nose, a familiar scent. The sounds of the squirrels scurrying up the tree, the birds melodic songs filling the air, and the wind whistling through the leaves. The taste of the crisp air on my tongue, seeming like an ambrosia. Best of all, the sight of all the nature around me, the beauty of creation. 

The oak tree became even more majestic as I climbed it, every inch holding another secret of nature. A simple tree creating a whole new world to see, a simple tree. The world appeared to be much more real than it ever had before. It was almost as though I was looking through the eyes of an owl high in the sky, a squirrel burrowing in the tree, or a deer in the middle of a forest. All of the work it took to climb this simple tree, seeming like an inexpensive price for the beauty of creation. 

Isabel Martinez            Holy Cross                             Grade 8


What do you do on Thanksgiving? My family likes to watch football, so this year we will watch the Vikings playing at the Lions, the Chargers playing at the Cowboys, and the Giants at the Redskins. The next day we will watch the Nebraska game. Since about ninety-five percent of my family are Nebraska fans, they don’t want to watch the Iowa game because they all hate Iowa. Watching Iowa win gives most of them the chills.      

Later, it’s time to eat all the good stuff: the meat and potatoes, the stuffing, all the vegetables, the corn, carrots, peas, and everything else is just amazing. Everyone has a great time when it’s time to eat but first you have to say grace, which is the most important part of our meal.

Sometimes we go to my Grandma's for Thanksgiving and we have a great time.  She might be the best cook of all time. My Grandma, Grandma Darlene, is so nice and an amazing woman who hosts Thanksgiving every other year. We have all the meat you can imagine.  We have prime rib, turkey, ham, deer, geese, and even pheasant. Overall, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and it’s just all about family and the food!

Keegan Flanigan             Mater Dei                               Grade 8


The flavor of pumpkin spice,

the smell so sweet and nice.

I just can’t wait,

for my Thanksgiving plate

The turkey, potatoes, and more,

all the things I adore.

All the smells in the air,

“You must wait for the Thanksgiving prayer.”

When we are all done,

We go outside for some fun!

Oh, all the games we play

I just can’t wait for the next Thanksgiving day!

Maggie Breyfogle            Mater Dei                               Grade 7

Autumn leaves

Red, gold, brown

Falling, swirling

Drifting down

Foggy Morning

Damp, cold, and grey

Nature’s blanket

Clouding the day

It’s time for Thanksgiving

And it’s time to be living

Let’s be giving

And hope to be forgiving

Angelina Shaw            Mater Dei                               Grade 7


Mmmmmmm, do you smell that? I love the smell of Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because all of my family are together and it’s truly amazing. It’s a time for all of us to say why we are thankful. I love the weather and the football.           

Some of my traditions are going to my Great Aunt Vickey’s house and watching Charlie Brown with my little cousins. My Grandma and my Aunt Vickey in the kitchen making delicious food and I come in to help a little, though I am mainly the taster. Before my Great Uncle Mike died in 2016, he would make the turkey and help set up the tables and tell hilarious stories. One year we got a propane tank that gave the turkey a slight smokey taste.

Zoey Vondrak                Mater Dei                               Grade 7


The holiday Thanksgiving has been celebrated around the world for more than four hundred years. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year in the United States. It is known in the U.S. as a day where we give thanks for family, food, football, and all of our many blessings from God as well as acknowledging our connection to the Native Americans. On Thanksgiving, families across America celebrate with a large feast consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, pumpkin pie, and many other tasty foods.

Thanksgiving is a tradition started hundreds of years ago by Native Americans and Pilgrims. Pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution in England and coming to the “New World” or as we know it, the United States. On September 6, 1620, one hundred and eleven people boarded a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed for sixty-five days and arrived at the United States to start the new lives.

Libby Francisco           Mater Dei                                    Grade 8

What is your favorite season? Mine is autumn because all the leaves are falling. Also, some days are nice and cool and some are warm. On the nice cool days, I like to wake up and go make breakfast and get coffee or hot cocoa then go read a book.  I might take my dog outside because my dog, Bender, loves playing outside in the leaves. I also like fall because I get to go watch football and I love Thanksgiving.

Jayden Pelster                 Mater Dei                   Grade 8

Fall is the season of family

The colors don’t change daily

It’s a time to be thankful

Because it’s Thanksgiving and I am so grateful

The leaves are starting to fall

The piles are getting tall

I need to give my friends a call

Because autumn is such a ball

Green, red, yellow, and brown

Just because summer is over, you don’t need to frown

Fall has just began

And autumn is so grand!

Lucy O’Hern                         Mater Dei                               Grade 7


Gobble! Gobble! Gobble! On Thanksgiving we go to my cousin’s house in LeMars. My aunt makes turkey and ham. My other aunt makes corn and mashed potatoes. Oh, how I love her mashed potatoes! My mom bakes pies and a fruit salad. My cousin’s Grandma makes some delicious homemade cookies. When it comes to dinner time, we sit down, hold hands, and go around the table and say why we are thankful.

After dinner we wait an hour. We go down stairs and play the Just Dance Wii: dads vs. moms. We play the team “kids” and all the winners have a round. The overall winner receives a trophy. The parents go upstairs and my uncle plays the guitar; we all sing along. I have the best time! We have dessert; we eat cookies and brownies with a little hot chocolate.

Sarahi Guerra               Mater Dei                               Grade 7


                                                    Fall is here at last!

                                       Playing in the leaves is surely a blast,

                                       The color is yellow, orange and red.

                                       After Thanksgiving I bet you’ll be fed.

                                  You might step on a leaf and it will crunch,

           After Thanksgiving you’ll have so many leftovers you’ll eat them for lunch.

                                                Snow will be here soon,

                               When you rake up leaves whistle a happy tune!

                                      Hot cider will burn your mouth at first,

          Don’t eat too much on Thanksgiving or you may feel like you are going to burst!

                                      You can play games with your family.

                After this Thanksgiving, you’ll be waiting for next year’s anxiously. 

Cori Parry                             Mater Dei                               Grade 7


Mmm, Mmm, Mmm! Every year my family gets together for Thanksgiving and for the Iowa -Nebraska game (Iowa is going to win, of course). The day after Thanksgiving is the Iowa-Nebraska game. Most of the time we go to my grandpa’s house and bet some money which is super fun.  We usually do this activity where we make a chart with what we think the score will be at the end of the quarter. We draw out of a hat and whatever you get is what you stick with. If your score at the end of the quarter is right, then you win some money. The day of Thanksgiving, turkey day, we usually all go out to my grandpa’s or my aunt’s and we fry a turkey and cook a bunch of other foods, which is delicious. Before we eat though, all the kids play football.

I am so grateful that the Pilgrims and the Indians had the first Thanksgiving and that they gave us the idea for this great holiday. Thanksgiving is a great holiday because it gives you time to spend with your family. 

Joseph Hope                            Mater Dei                                Grade 7

When the end of summer draws near,

And the sound of birds chirping as they leave you can hear...

The bears and squirrels are out looking for food

So, during winter they can sleep in a good mood.

The days start to get slowly cooler

School’s started up and kids have their pencils and a ruler.

The holidays are coming especially Thanksgiving,

When we have the big feast, and hope the turkeys are forgiving

The leaves on the trees start to change colors

A magnificent sight of red, yellow, and all the others

A wonderful season it is for all

The most beautiful season has to be fall

John Paul O’Connor                        Mater Dei                               Grade 7


 Don’t you just LOVE Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving, my favorite day of November, is on the 23rd this year! What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Thanksgiving to me is gathering as a family to share and celebrate everything we’re thankful for! It’s one of the best fall holidays!!

In my family, we love to celebrate our Thanksgiving with my mom’s grandma, sisters, and their families! We have a late lunch feast! Our feast always includes turkey, ham, stuffing, pies, and many more! Before we eat our feast we do a family prayer, we also go around the room and each of us shares our thankful thoughts. We also ride the ATV and four-wheelers. If there is snow on the ground, we tie a car hood to the ATV and we ride on the hood while we take turns driving! It’s so fun! I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays!  

Elen Pruett                              Mater Dei                                Grade 7

 Gobble, gobble! Don’t you just love Thanksgiving? There are so many yummy foods and delicious smells! It’s such a fun, but stomach filling, holiday. There are so many decorations, too, like little pilgrims, pumpkins, and turkeys. The best part of Thanksgiving is all the mouthwatering food like ham, turkey, corn, pie, and hot cider. But an even better part of Thanksgiving is all the family gatherings and traditions.

 Do you have any family traditions or anything special that you do for Thanksgiving? I know that I do. Every Thanksgiving my mom, dad, sisters, and I all go to my grandma’s house for a big feast. All my cousins, aunts, and uncles are there, too. Everyone brings at least one thing of food that they’ve made and everything is always so delicious. We all eat together and talk about the latest things in our lives while all my younger cousins run and play. After all that, we eventually all leave and everyone goes back home with their bellies filled and happy thoughts.  

Abby Albenesius                      Mater Dei         Grade 7


What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving? My favorite part has to be the food. Thanksgiving is a day to spend with your family and say thanks for the things you have. Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, makes me feel stuffed. You get to eat so much food such as potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, turkey, ham, cheesy potatoes, and usually some pie.

Every year on Thanksgiving my parents spend the whole day cooking and sometimes the day before. Thanksgiving takes a lot of time to prepare for especially if you have family or friends that come over. Before we start eating, we go around the table and list some things we are thankful for. It is good to be thankful for things because some people might not get a nice meal on Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Ireland Uhl                            Mater Dei                               Grade 8


On Thanksgiving I go to my grandma’s house and of course eat turkey. We all gather around the table. After we eat we all watch football. My family is big into football. So you can only imagine what happens. Then after that I go over to my other grandparent’s house. Some people eat chicken on Thanksgiving. That’s a weird tradition. What do you do on Thanksgiving, National turkey day?          Madison Maas                       Grade 7


What is your favorite season? Mine is fall because all of the leaves changing colors, the beautiful decoration, and everything about fall just make me happy. Whenever I come inside from playing with my dog, Myla, the hot apple cider always warms me up. I love when I walk outside in the morning, and the crisp morning air hits my face.

One of my other favorite parts about fall is Thanksgiving. I love all the food and I love how I get to see all of my family. For Thanksgiving we always go to my grandma’s house. We always have great food like pie, turkey, mash potatoes, and much more. I love all my cousins and I love hanging out with them. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving with all your family and friends.          Mariah Augustine                 Grade 8

Ah, it’s coming to that time in the year where we spend our time giving thanks and being grateful. Oh… I can’t think of the best part. Wait, yes I can… THE PIE! We LOVE our pumpkin pie sweet with the little bit of cinnamon on top. That graham cracker crust and most importantly, the delicious ice cream on top. Pie brings the family together where we give thanks for the life we have.

Pinterest has some great ideas on how to have the best decorations on the block. There are many crafts as well. One includes writing on a jar: “What I’m thankful for…”  where people write on a piece of paper and put it in. Many ideas on Pinterest include making home decor from real or fake pumpkins. Another one I really like is where you have a jar, fill it about a third of the way with candy corn, rap the top in twine, and put in your utensils. Pinterest is like my best friend when I’m trying to find cute or amazing crafts and decorations. That is all I have for you this time!  Thank you and have a great Thanksgiving.

Abigail Fenceroy     Mater Dei               Grade 8


When you rake up leaves, because it is your chore, do you jump into them and notice all different colors? Have you ever wondered why they turn that color? I know that I have! Well, I just figured out why they do that! When the chlorophyll in the leaves break down it makes the green color in the leaves change to yellow, then to orange, then red, and eventually brown and crumbly. Chlorophyll is a green part of the plant cell that helps with photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a cycle that plants use to make energy. When the chlorophyll breaks down the leaves can’t perform photosynthesis to stay alive so they die. Then they get darker and darker.

So next time you rake up leaves, compare the colors and try to figure out which ones are older and which ones are younger.  Ask your parents if they know. I asked my mom and she had no idea. So if you ever wonder why some leaves change from one color to another, this is why.

Taylor Jochum           Mater Dei        Grade 8


Every Halloween, we go trick-or-treating with some friends. We go around their neighborhood by ourselves, then we go trick-or-treating around my neighborhood. Last year, I was a member of the swat team. I wore a real bullet proof vest that belongs to my uncle, who is a sheriff’s deputy. I love getting candy! After trick-or-treating, we go to my house, wrap up in blankets, and watch a movie. I love this tradition and the next one....Thanksgiving!  Jolee K.                       


Gobble, Gobble, is that a turkey, or the food being eaten? Either way, that means Thanksgiving is approaching. Thanksgiving, what an amazing holiday. It is only celebrated in America by feasting and football.   It is this time of year when everyone comes around to eat! We do this by visiting a grandparent`s house, an aunt’s or uncle`s house, a cousin`s house, or even at your own house, but this wouldn`t happen if it weren’t for the Indigenous People and the Pilgrims.

The Indigenous People lived here first on the land and they helped the new families with gardening and hunting.  The Pilgrims came to America on the Mayflower in which they held a spectacular feast, but that is a huge story and I could go on and on about how it happened.  But instead of trying to cram history into here, why don’t we just cram some cranberries into our mouths... shall we?

Brian Wilmes                         Mater Dei                               Grade 7


What is your favorite thing about fall? Is it the pleasant, cool weather? Maybe it’s because you can play football, a fall sport. I like the dozens of colorful leaves that can be found on fall trees. All the shades of red, brown, yellow, and orange make fall a really colorful season. However, one has to wonder: how do these leaves change from bright green to these beautiful fall colors? The main cause is chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is a substance that helps plants to absorb sunlight and is vital to the food making process, and it also gives plants the green color you’re used to seeing. When fall rolls around, changes in the length of the day and temperatures come too. When the leaves on the trees sense these changes, they stop their food making process. Since the leaves don’t need the chlorophyll to absorb sunlight anymore, they get rid of it, causing them to lose their green color. So the next time you look at a fall tree covered with orange and yellow, you’ll know why they are these colors when they were green several weeks ago.      Ricky Arteaga                       Grade 8


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