We all know the routine: baste turkey, hug relatives and watch football.


But Thanksgiving Day  – and the opportunity it gives to reflect on what we value  – should never become routine.


As a reminder of what Thanksgiving is all about, we presented 50 cameras students at Northlake Elementary and gave the youngsters this assignment: Show us what you’re thankful for.


A week later, we had the results. While every child brought a unique perspective to the assignment, some common themes did emerge.


Picture after picture featured the smiling, teasing or caught off-guard faces of the important people in their lives.  Mom and Dad. Best friends. Brothers and sisters. Grandparents. Teachers.


The youngsters also paid tribute to their furry or finned friends, with several shots taken to get pets looking their best.


They turned their lenses on the places that give them joy: home, school and church. And they gave thanks for the natural wonders of our world: flowers, trees, birds and lakes.


Finally, you could see their gratitude for the material things  that sustain and give pleasure, such as food, books, computers and toys.


Northlake teacher Maurie Capps expressed pride in how well the youngsters handled their task, which she tied to lessons about writing and careers. Each student took the full week to capture a variety of relevant shots and brought the cameras back as instructed.


“They really showed their maturity,” says Capps. In November, the students will use their photos to create poster board collages that will be displayed in the school.


In the following pages, you’ll find several examples of the wonderful photos we received.


And to all the Northlake students and teachers who made this story possible, the Advocate  must say this: Thank you.


(also good place to thank our sponsor,)




Princess Ere, second grade



Princess found quite the willing subject in her big brother, Advent. The 9-year-old proved eager to strut his stuff before the camera’s eye. And as always, he found an adoring audience in his little sister. Princess is grateful for her brother and had a good time capturing his “funny” poses.



Clair Song, second grade



 The oh-so-shy youngster pictured here is Richard, Clair’s 4-year-old brother. Says Clair: “I say ‘make a funny face’ and I take the picture in the car while my mommy is driving.” Richard is Clair’s only sibling and she enjoys playing with him.



Angel Coleman, second grade


The subject here is the flowers – not little sis Ricca, who wandered into the frame. Says Angel: “That’s my mama’s flowers and my sister got in the way.” (Ricca later got her chance to be the star when Angel took some family pictures.) Angel says “Flowers are my favorite things” and she was happy that her photo would be seen by Advocate readers. Says Angel: “They might like flowers too.”



Melissa Howell, second grade



Melissa captured her little brother, 5-year-old Scotty, at home in his “big bunk bed that looks like a fort” as he played around with a favorite toy sword.  Says Melissa: “I think it’s kind of funny that he’s going to show up in a magazine with his jam-jams on.”



Samantha Scrwener, fourth grade



Getting Sylvester and Tweety to pose wasn’t as easy as it looks. Samantha says Sylvester’s long arms and big paws made it hard to pair him with the smaller Tweety, who wound up being propped up just so for the photo. She shot them because “I’ve always wanted Sylvester and Tweety and we were (playing games) at this place Dave and Busters. My mom shared her tickets with me so we could get them.”



Caitlin Burns, fourth grade



“Oh my gosh, I hope it’s not not my dad asleep,” was Caitlin’s reaction when she found out one of her photos would run in the Advocate.  Caitlin was a bit worried that her dad, Robert Burns, would be less-than-thrilled about sharing his naptime with our readers. “OK,” she decided. “You can put it in the magazine, but don’t put it on the cover.” We obliged, Caitlin, and we’re betting that Dad will be so pleased by your admiration that he’ll overlook your candid-camera style.



Betsy Campbell, fourth grade



Besty was playing outside with her buddy, Cammy Eckel, when inspiration struck. ‘She was just sliding and I said ‘Stay there and I’ll take your picture.’ ” Always a good sport, Cammy played along and propped herself up on the slide for the impromptu photo shoot.



Nathan Oehring, fifth grade



No self-esteem problems here: Nathan decided to include a self-portrait in his assignment. Says Nathan: “I’m thankful for myself.”



Daniel Rooker, fifth grade



Daniel loves football – playing it and watching it. He decided to show his affection for the sport by featuring his youth team uniform. As for positioning: “There’s more light outside and it’s easier to take.”



Will Davis, fourth grade



Will took his photos of Park Cities Baptist Church in a flash. Mom told him they couldn’t stay long, so he hurridely took what he could from where they were at. Will says he has gone to Park Cities “like before I was born, my parents attended” and that “I’m thankful for my church.”