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ALABASTER, Alabama -- Taylor Rogers passed on the traditional turkey and dressing at Meadow View Elementary School's Thanksgiving lunch attended by parents and other family members.

Instead, she went with the corndog. "It's usually turkey. I just felt in the mood for a corndog," the third-grader said.

Meals aside, she and her other peers took time today to express their thanks at the holiday season for loved ones and other meaningful people in their lives. Thanksgiving means "being able to have food and spending time with my family," Taylor said.

This year, she is thankful for "my teacher and class," she added.

With Meadow View Principal Rachea Simms serving up "Sharing Sweet Potato Casserole," "Grateful Green Beans" and "Thankful Turkey and Dressing" in the cafeteria, the school welcomed first- and third-graders with their family members for a meal today. On Wednesday, the school will do the same for kindergarteners and second-graders.

"I come most of the time to grandparents' day and Thanksgiving," said Joyce Newman, grandmother of third-grader Parker Edmondson. "He's the youngest of my four grandchildren."

Newman realizes there might be a day when her grandson thinks it's not cool to have his Mimi over for lunch at school, so she's embracing the opportunities to hang out with him. "I love this school. This is such a good school," she said.

Parker, 8, said he is thankful for "playing soccer" in his rightwing position. When asked what Thanksgiving means to him, he simply said, "My family."

Sitting next to Taylor were her friends and classmates Britnie Strother and Chloe Patrick, both 9. Britnie said Thanksgiving to her means "time to spend with my family."

For Chloe, it's "spending time with your family."

Shelia Marcus visited with her 8-year-old daughter, Layla, and their cousin Zyon Gaiters, 9. "I do it every year," Mom said. "I want her to know we support everything about her school."

Layla didn't pause when asked for what she is giving thanks this year. "Love," she said.

"For family," Zyon said, adding that Thanksgiving is a special time. "It's spending time with my family and being thankful for what God gave me."

Owen Alcorn, 9, also thanked God. "I am thankful for God and that we were all created in the world," he said. "I am thankful for my mom and my dad and about my family. And I am thankful for everything with my family."

Sitting next to Owen was 9-year-old Shefton Thomas, who had plenty of thanks to give out. "My school, my mom and my dad. I wish my brother would hurry up already," he said. "He's always in college and it sucks I have no one to play with."

Shefton didn't stop there: "I'm thankful for my sister because she's been helping me through everything since my brother is gone."

What does Thanksgiving mean to him? "Family and friends and holidays and my mom and my dad. It's mostly my mom and my dad because I love them," he said.

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