In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers seeking a new home in the New World. After a dangerous journey that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims began to establish Plymouth. Throughout the first brutal winter most colonists remained on board the ship where they suffered from outbreaks of contagious diseases. Only half of the original passengers survived until the spring. In March, when many settlers moved ashore, they would meet an Indian named Squanto. He taught the Pilgrims how to farm corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest was successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. The feast that would later be known as the first Thanksgiving lasted three days. It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
November is also a time to celebrate family as we gather around the table and share a Thanksgiving meal. The United States honors National Family Week November 19-25 by engaging in local activities that promote, encourage and celebrate healthy families and communities. USD 475 encouraged family members to celebrate Thanksgiving at Lincoln Elementary on November 16. Dr. Beth Hudson, Associate Superintendent, and Linda Bongers, Director of Library Media Services, were there to assist with serving the holiday meal. Geary County Schools wishes all of our staff, students, families, and community a very happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.