Food, football, family and fun. As Thanksgiving approaches and we kick off the holiday season,  the Key West Weekly visited The Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea to hear what makes kids grateful and what they like most about Thanksgiving — aside from the vacation days, of course. 


Annabel Garrido, age 6

“I’m thankful for having my family. It’s a huge family, and we’re going to Gainesville to see some of them. And my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the food.”

Kayden Davis, age 13

“I’m thankful to have a loving family that’s so supportive, and I love helping my aunt prepare the whole meal. I like to think I’m a good cook and getting better.”

Leandro Batista, age 14

“I’m most thankful for the life I have, all of it, everything. I have parents who love me and aren’t divorced. I have food, a house, clothing, everything I need and things other people don’t have.

I’m a big guy, so my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the food. But what makes it special is when the whole, extended family comes down. We all hold hands before dinner around the table. And it’s special because everyone’s there.”

Tristan Walker, age 13

“I’m thankful for my mom and stepdad because they’re always there for me, and for my teachers here because they strengthen my faith. The best part of Thanksgiving is getting to see family that we don’t see very often. It’s a special time for family.”

Owen Wright, age 11

“I’m very thankful that we’re all safe. Safe from COVID, safe in general. And my favorite part of Thanksgiving is when my aunt comes to Key West. But my favorite food is either sweet mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie.”

Paislee Wise, age 5

“I’m thankful for pumpkin pie and I’m REALLY thankful that we’re going to Disney for Thanksgiving. Oh, and we’re visiting family in Orlando, too.”

Sofia Balmaceda, age 12

“I’m thankful for this school and for the opportunity to grow my faith and get a great education. And I’m thankful to my family for putting me in this school. The gathering of family is my favorite part. We have nice little traditions.”

Summer Bailey, age 11

“I’m so grateful that I have all my family and friends in my life, and that we get to go visit family in Georgia this year for Thanksgiving. My family all sits around the table, laughing and telling stories. That’s my favorite part.”


With Thanksgiving a mere week away and the holiday season revving up to full speed, it’s important to take a moment, slow down, and be grateful for all that we have in this life. One may never find more honesty than from the mouth of a child, and in that spirit, Keys Weekly paid a visit to Stanley Switlik Elementary School to chat with 16 students in kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. We asked them what they are most thankful for, and what treat they’re most excited to munch on at Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy their answers!

Name: Brayden
Grade: Kindergarten
Most Thankful For: I went to the boat races. Last time I didn’t get to see them because I didn’t get there in time.
Favorite Treat: Candy canes

Name: Aliyah
Grade: Kindergarten
Most Thankful For: Having a turkey dinner.
Favorite Treat: Turkey

Name: Taylor
Grade: Kindergarten
Most Thankful For: Life
Favorite Treat: Candy!

Name: Josie
Grade: Kindergarten
Most Thankful For: Chicken!
Favorite Treat: Candy!

Name: Isaac
Grade: Kindergarten
Most Thankful For: Eating with our family.
Favorite Treat: I don’t really know.

Name: Jaythan
Grade: 1st
Most Thankful For: My mom
Favorite Treat: Turkey

Name: Jordanna
Grade: 1st
Most Thankful For: My family. I love them.
Favorite Treat: Macaroni

Name: Aubree
Grade: 1st
Most Thankful For: My family, because they care about me.
Favorite Treat: Mac & cheese.

Name: Wyatt 
Grade: 1st
Most Thankful For: My school. I like the math in my school.
Favorite Treat: Blueberry pie

Name: Jason 
Grade: 1st
Most Thankful For: Original answer: I don’t do Thanksgiving; the first time I did it was when I was 4, and I hated it. Upon further consideration: turkeys.
Favorite Treat: Strawberries, and heavily considering trying potatoes this year.

Name: Basthian
Grade: 2nd
Most Thankful For: Eating something else other than turkey
Favorite Treat: Chicken and rice instead of turkey, because turkey tastes different than chicken and rice. The first time I tried it, I didn’t like it.

Name: Savannah
Grade: 2nd
Most Thankful For: My family, because I love them and they are special.
Favorite Treat: My mom’s homemade mac & cheese

Name: Maya
Grade: 2nd
Most Thankful For: My family
Favorite Treat: Ham

Name: Cannon
Grade: 2nd
Most Thankful For: Probably my dog Oscar. He’s a goldendoodle, and he turned 1 a few months ago.
Favorite Treat: My mom makes croissants every year

Name: Braelyn
Grade: 2nd
Most Thankful For: I’m thankful for the army and all the people who fight for us for freedom.
Favorite Treat: Turkey

Name: Zayden
Grade: 2nd
Most Thankful For: The army, and having a good day.
Favorite Treat: Chicken


Food, football and fun. In a time of giving thanks, the Keys Weekly visited local schools to hear what children are thankful for this season. In addition, students were asked what they like to throw on their plates when it comes time to feast.

The two questions:

  1. What are you most grateful for?
  2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving treat?


Mattie, age 11, grade 6.

  1. I’m thankful for multiple things. My family and my school. My teachers and the staff are so nice. And the privilege to learn — some people don’t get to. I have a house, and I have food and water. It’s sad to think some people don’t have what we do.
  2. Spending time with family around a meal. That’s special to me.

Henry, age 11, grade 6.

  1. I’m grateful I get to live in what many people call paradise. For many people, it’s once in a lifetime coming here. And I get to spend every day in paradise.
  2. I’m always happy to see family. We don’t see them throughout the year. But we’re going to be in Disney World this year to meet friends from Virginia.

Sirena, age 8, grade 3.

  1. My cousins from Texas are coming to town. I hardly get to see them. I’m also thankful that my dad finally found the phone, because it gives me back memories of my cousins. I took pictures of them.
  2. What’s that jello stuff? Cranberry sauce. I love cranberry sauce. Mamaw makes the best.

Charlie, age 7, grade 2.

  1. That people share their love. I like people saying thank you, like when they come over to people’s houses to eat.
  2. Turkey. Some people get chicken instead of turkey. I only eat the turkey.

Arianna, age 8 and a half, grade 3.

  1. My friends, my parents and my teachers who care about me. Almost every day in the car line, my teachers ask for a hug.
  2. I’ve never tried pumpkin pie, so maybe pumpkin pie.

Martin, age 10, grade 4.

  1. For my teachers. They teach really well. When you don’t understand, they do one-on-one classes. I really like that.
  2. My uncle is a chef. His meals are crazy but really good. He does a marshmallow potato cake.

Chase, age 10, grade 5.

  1. I’m thankful for a lot of things. My school, my family. My family is very nice and tries to give me everything I want and make me feel happy. That makes me feel great.
  2. Seeing my brother. He’s coming down to see me and my parents. He has a wife and child, and I get to see them too.

Ainsley, age 10, grade 5.

  1. I’m grateful that none of my family members have passed in the pandemic, and I have everything I want. I really like how my life is going.
  2. I’m excited for decorations and making them and that mood — making it warm and cozy.

Isla, age 8, grade 2.

  1. My friends and family. A lot of family comes to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. My birthday is the day after, and we’re having a party.
  2. I love pumpkin pie.

Luke, age 7, grade 2.

  1. Having a family. They give me good food.
  2. Turkey. Mashed potatoes.

Aiden, age 6, kindergarten.

  1. Having fun and playing with my cousins and my two brothers.
  2. On Thanksgiving Day, I get to see my cousins and my brothers and we play Minecraft. My brother has it on Xbox, and I have an iPad, and we can join worlds on it.

Joviee, age 5, kindergarten.

  1. Santa, because he’s so kind and brings presents. And the Easter Bunny.
  2. Hanging out with my family. When it’s time to eat, we all eat as a family.


Leonardo, age 4, Pre-K.

  1. My family. They give you candy. And my pool. My toys. Cake.
  2. Chocolate.

Stella, age 5, kindergarten.

  1. My family. They play with me.
  2. Ice cream.

Amelia, age 5, Pre-K.

  1. My family, my dog and everything.
  2. Chocolate and ice cream with whipped cream.

Elayna, age 5, kindergarten.

  1. My parents when they give me a kiss.
  2. Chocolate ice cream.

Winslow, age 5, kindergarten.

  1. My family and my two dogs.
  2. Chocolate cake.

Serenity, age 11, grade 5.

  1. I’m thankful that my doggy’s safe. She’a a high jumper, and she can jump over the fence. Once she went around the neighborhood, and my aunt had to run and find her in her pajamas.
  2. My mom makes Rice Krispies turkey legs with pretzels, Rice Krispies, white chocolate and marshmallows.

Jack, age 11, grade 6.

  1. After COVID, we’re still going. We are able to be face to face outside. That can’t happen in urban areas.
  2. My mom’s cheesecake. It has a Heath Bar base and she drizzles chocolate on top.

Parks, age 12, grade 6.

  1. Last year, I didn’t feel I was challenged. My teacher Marla Koche gave me more assignments. She gave me the book “Black Ships Before Troy” to read and then homework questions to make me think.
  2. My mom makes apple pie and puts designs on it, then she puts it in a cup with vanilla ice cream. So it’s hot and cold.

Enio, age 8, grade 3.

  1. My family and my dog Doni. He cuddles.
  2. Talking at the table and hanging out.

M.E., age 7, grade 2.

  1. My teacher Ms. Lachowicz. She’s really nice, and I like learning.
  2. Nana’s brownies. I like making them. She makes them with double fudge.

Henry, age 7, grade 2.

  1. My brother, Jack. He’s 11. When I’m asleep, he carries me in from the car.
  2. Hawaiian rolls. Just plain.

Monique, age 7, grade 2.

  1. My brother, my sister, and my other sister, and my other sister, and my other sister. When we gather around to celebrate Thanksgiving. Sometimes I feel sad. My dad is in the Air Force, and he hasn’t been here in two years. They cheer me up.
  2. Turkey and Thanksgiving cookies. We bake the cookies. Usually I do the work, and Mommy only relaxes.

Sonoma, age 9, grade 4.

  1. My friends and family. They care for me.
  2. The duck my grandma makes.

Ryleigh, age 8, grade 3.

  1. My friends and family. Sonoma is my friend, and I’ve known her since I was little. One of my other friends is also in the school. I’ve known her since I was zero.
  2. Mashed potatoes. No butter. No gravy. Just plain.

Cayden, age 10, grade 5.

  1. My friends and family. My brother spends a lot of time with me and we laugh together.
  2. My mom made a turkey with bacon on top.

Andrew, age 10, grade 4.

  1. My cousins. This summer, we went on an RV trip to Wyoming. We went to South Fork.
  2. Green beans on the bottom with crust on top.

Sharly, age 13, grade 7.

  1. My family — my mom, my dad. And my goals in life, like football and sports.
  2. The turkey. The turkey is good.

Alexis, age 12, grade 7.

  1. My family and friends support me and take me everywhere. When my grades started going bad, they helped me a lot and got my grades up.
  2. Stuffed turkey. We go up to Pennsylvania to see my grandparents, and they love cooking.

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