Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love that its uniquely American, and that everyone in the United States (with a few small exceptions) celebrates the holiday. As someone who loves history, I can even look past the fact that the story of the "first Thanksgiving" has very little historical support, and, most likely, didn't happen in the way that its ingrained in our minds.
I have so many Thanksgiving-related memories, that I could bore everyone for hours on end with personal stories about my favorite Thanksgiving celebrations...so I'll spare you the details. The biggest reason that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday is because it exemplifies the FFF philosophy that I live by...Family, Food, and Football. Until my family situation evolved, I spent Thanksgiving at the same place for 26 of 27 years, my Aunt & Uncle's house in Hatfield, PA (Thanksgiving 2002 was spent in London, but we still enjoyed a turkey & all the fixings). I also spent the morning watching my high school (Pottsgrove) take on the local parochial school, arch-rival St. Pius X. The 40-minute drive to my Aunt & Uncle's house was always filled with anticipation of seeing whether or not we'd be dressing up as Pilgrims or Native Americans. YES, my Aunt created hand-made outfits for all 20+ guests, and, more importantly, individualized names (unfortunately, I cannot remember and/or cannot repeat most of the these names). Upon arrival, the day was spent catching up with family, watching lots of football, and eating way too much food (with Nana's pumpkin pie being a personal favorite).
While I always have fond memories of Thanksgiving & the three F's, I've chosen this topic because I think its important to stop and focus on the things for which I am truly thankful. On a personal level, I'm happy to have a truly wonderful family. My wife and children make every day special, always bring a smile to my face, and help me stay focused on the important things in life. In her daily e-mails, my mother often reminds me that "I'm a lucky man" or "I'm truly blessed" and she couldn't be more correct. I will always give thanks to having a stable & loving family my entire life. Thank you Mom & Dad, Sam, Zachary, Michael, Rylee...and the rest of the family.
On a professional level, I am truly thankful for the opportunity to have a career that doesn't feel like work. I get to spend my days in the company of children who are optimistic about the future, colleagues that are committed to helping young people reach their potential, and a school community that makes me feel like I'm part of a family. PDS is not perfect, but its about as close as you get in a educational environment. And, more importantly, this is a community that is driven to make it better.
Our middle school teachers and families do an excellent job of helping our middle school students develop a sense of thankfulness and community involvement. The relationship with JH Gunn Elementary and the CANstation project are two examples of ways that our students are encouraged to contribute to causes greater than themselves, and, directly and indirectly, develop empathy towards others who face daily challenges that the average PDS does not face.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you for helping make PDS special, and for raising children and students that are destined for greatness in the future.