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Giving thanks: Falkville community resumes Thanksgiving tradition

By Wes Tomlinson

For the Enquirer


After 20 months of social distancing interspersed with virtual schooling, parents and relatives joined their children Thursday at Falkville Elementary for the school’s traditional Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria.

The event was canceled a year ago because of the pandemic, and veteran teacher Marnie McClellan was sentimental as she welcomed the community back this year.

“It feels like we’re finally getting back to normal,” McClellan said. “My kids this year seem to be excited and ready to learn, so we’re very glad to be at this point.

“This (Thanksgiving) lunch is important to children,” she added. “You can see it in their faces as they can’t wait to sit down to eat.”

McClellan has been a teacher with the Morgan County Schools district for 24 years and has spent 23 of those years as a kindergarten learning specialist at Falkville Elementary. Her husband graduated from Falkville High School, and she has two children who attend there.

“This school is a big part of the town,” McClellan said.

Stephen Cannon, who has a daughter in first grade and a son in fourth grade, agreed. “Everything in this town revolves around this school,” he said. “It’s a pretty tight-knit community here in Falkville.”

Cannon said this will be the first year for him and his daughter to have Thanksgiving lunch together at the school.

“Obviously, through this difficult time, it’s become clear we value what’s most important,” Cannon said. “Family, relationships and friends are at the forefront of who we are and what we value.”

Cannon said the Thanksgiving lunch this year is a great opportunity for parents of the students to meet each other and meet their children’s teachers so they can discuss the school year.

“We’ve heard their names but have not been able to meet them because we’ve been isolated,” Cannon pointed out.

Tickets to the lunch were sold in the front office for $5 apiece, and Principal Chad Summerford said more than 300 were sold.

“We used the money from the tickets to cover the cost of the food,” Summerford said.

Summerford said the lunch has always been one of the biggest events in Falkville.

“The mayor usually comes to these lunches,” Summerford said. “We’ve got three Falkville police officers here today as well.”

One of those officers, Levi George, was there to monitor the crowd in the cafeteria and to eat lunch with his two children. He said the police department never hesitates to become involved in all Falkville events and develop relationships with all of its residents.

“We really strive for community policing; you know that’s a big deal for us,” George said. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to do that.”