Thankful for Traditions

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"Grace O’Malley, the Irish explorer, sailed the seas with her crew of men, stopping any British ships sailing over her turf.  They called her a pirate, but through her men’s eyes, she was a queen. One day, sailing through the seas, a storm hit her ship and they shipwrecked on an island.  A castle lay upon the hills where her men banged on the door for help. No one answered. 

Due to this, Grace O’Malley, the pirate queen, kidnapped the owner of the castle’s nephew and held him for ransom.  The ransom demand was that each night of every year, the castle would have an extra plate at the dinner table in case her crew ever knocked on the castle door, the castle owners would always answer and feed their guests.  This tradition has held on to our family and so we always have an extra plate at the dinner table welcoming anyone that comes.

On the Korean side of my family, a long ago, there was a king named Sejong who believed everyone should have a chance to read and write.  At the time, Koreans had to learn thousands of Chinese characters. King Sejong created the Korean alphabet consisting of 28 characters. In my family, we love to read and write.  We hold on to this tradition of how thankful we are for King Sejong that let many, many people learn to read and write.

My Mimi (Marty Robinson) is from the O’Malley clan.  This year, I helped Mimi make stuffing and sweet potato pudding.  She told me the story of Grace O’Malley along with the story of King Sejong while we cooked together."


Jade & her grandmother
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Alex & his grandmother

"Our tradition is we invite our friends over and my grandmother cooks Russian recipes some are beef stroganof, piroshki, salads because she is from Russia.  And me and my mom cook American recipes. This shows that two cultures come together as a family. Happy Thanksgiving for everyone!"


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Mimi & her grandmother

"Hi I’m Mimi Moraccini and on Thanksgiving I was with my grandma, Eileen Fanelli.   Our tradition, since we are Italian-American, is to always have one Italian dish on the table for Thanksgiving.  This year it was risotto, which is rice in Italian. It was made with mushrooms and cheese. It was delicious!"


Mila & her grandmother

 "My name is Mila and I took some time to spend time with my grandparents, Arlene & Morty,  over Thanksgiving break. Since we had to find a family traditional food and make it, I asked my grandparents if we had any traditional food items that our family liked to make. After talking about it, (and also getting sidetracked and talking about a bunch of other stuff, but at least I was spending time with them, and that was what mattered.) Anyway, we decided on my great grandmother’s strawberry shortcake, which tastes amazing.

        It had all started when my great grandma used to make it for my mom when she was a kid. The way she would make it was, she would take lady finger cookies, and dip them in orange juice. Then, she would layer them in a tall container, putting cool whip and strawberries in between the layers. Then, she would leave it in the fridge overnight to set. She would do many layers, and it would be in a round dish. Now, this was only a once in a while kind of thing, but it became a tradition when my mom introduced the recipe to me. It was the fourth of July a few summers ago, and my mom was trying to think of something to bring to a party. Then, she remembered this strawberry shortcake recipe. She showed me how to make the cake, but we didn’t have the right container for the cake. So we improvised, and used a big cake pan instead. When we went to the party and brought the cake, it was a hit. Then, when we went to Atlanta for Thanksgiving later in the year, I had the idea to make it again for Thanksgiving dessert. Every one of my cousins, aunts, and uncles loved it!

         Ever since then, whenever I go to Atlanta my Grandma and I make this dessert. So, when it came up as we were discussing family traditions, I knew it was the right thing to make. This Thanksgiving, we made the cake and took a picture when we were done, to remember the experience. I also want to remind everyone else to spend time with their grandparents, because even 10 minutes or so will make their day."


"My name is Samantha Reed.  I attend Chaparral Elementary School and I’m in the 5th grade.  Every year my family has a reunion with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Here’s a picture of my grandpa, Bill Reed, and me.  My grandpa taught me how to play croquet and many other board games.  We also like to solve puzzles together.  I’m very thankful for my family reunion."


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Samantha & her grandfather
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Emerson & her family

"Every year my whole family goes to a fancy dinner on Christmas eve. My family has been doing this for many years. 

My grandparents' names are Paul and Deborah.  My name is Emerson Keene,

This is a picture of my parents, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my sister, and ME last year in 2018!"


"My name is Kody Jimenez and I am in 5th grade at Chaparral. For our holiday project I interviewed my aunt and I have attached a picture of us, too (with my dad). Her name is Aunt Violet and she moved from Mexico, where she was born, to America when she was three years old. She moved here with her parents, my grandparents, and older brother and sister so that her dad could be a teacher here. She speaks English and Spanish. During the holidays she celebrates Las Posadas and includes eating tamales, chips and guacamole, and sopas."


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Kody, his father, and aunt
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Arjan Singh's grandmother, Usha
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Bahar Singh's grandmother, Turkan