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Leaves become a blanket, creating a warmth that grass at West Valley Community Park can be thankful for.

College applications

ANNA ERGESON, Selah High School

It’s almost time for the overeating, conversations with friends and family, and gratitude that mark a well-celebrated Thanksgiving. As I sat down to write a Thanksgiving-themed article, it occurred to me that I really am thankful for college applications.

Applying to college is a stressful time, no doubt. There are essays to be written, activity lists to be organized, and letters to be requested, to all eventually result in the seemingly never-ending wait for a decision. Still, as I thought about what I was thankful for, college applications were a no-brainer.

I have the opportunity to apply to college(s) and I take it for granted. To me, college was the obvious next step after high school. I never contemplated anything else, but I realize this is not the case for most people in the world. The number of people who earn a college degree is a small minority, less than 7% worldwide.

The United States is known for its higher education system; eight of the top 10 universities in the world are located right here in our country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Students from all over the world come to the U.S. to further their education. I am proud to live in a country where college is valued.

Before I sit down to complete more applications, I should thank the people who have made this opportunity possible. The list is long: my parents who read many essays and provide constructive criticism and support along the way, my teachers who have taught me to challenge myself and pursue my interests, and my friends who provide constant encouragement.

I have found that gratitude and happiness go hand in hand. Wishing you plenty of gratitude this season!

The circle of people

JESSICA MCDONALD, Zillah High School

I am thankful for my school, my family and my friends. Without school and sports, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to have the friends I do now.

I thank Zillah High School for allowing me to blossom my friendships that even reach out to the fantastic teachers at ZHS. Thank you to teachers Ken Johnson, Traci Anderson, Cassie Nugent and Mark Nelson for always pushing me to be the best that I can be.

I thank the Boisselle family for letting me become a part of their lives and accepting me into their family. I thank my boyfriend, Ethan Boisselle, who understands me in ways others can’t. I thank my best friend, Caitlyn Belton, for sticking with me through all the hard times since kindergarten. Lastly, I thank my mom, who works endlessly around the clock for the both of us and can still go support me in whatever I am doing.

I am thankful for many more things as well, and I treasure every last one of them. Make sure to thank those around you who have impacted your life in any way. It is, after all, almost Thanksgiving! Have a happy holiday!

Pets

ABIGAIL BAILEY, West Valley High School

I am incredibly thankful for my pets. You will never find anyone as loyal and worried for you as your pets.

My cats can always tell when I’m upset or having a bad day, and they do what they can to make me feel better. My dogs are the most excited ones in the house whenever I get home, greeting me first thing at the door.

Thanks to my pets I never feel left out, I never feel alone and, most important, I never feel unwanted.

Where we live

ANABELLE KOLLMAN, Eisenhower High School

I am thankful for living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

I love how here in Yakima we get all four distinct seasons, and with each coming season there are new activities to look forward to. In the summer, we have beautiful forests to enjoy backpacking and camping in. In the fall, we have great hunting and the fresh air is perfect for a brisk walk. When the snow comes in winter, the ski hill is just a short drive away, and there are plenty of trails to snowshoe. I love that Mount Rainer is a day trip away to view the springtime wildflowers.

We live in such a unique state, in that we can go from ocean, to rainforest, to mountains, to evergreens, to desert, to lakes and to rivers all in a day. I am thankful that I can easily visit all these beautiful places that we have in our state. I remember the first time I visited the ocean; I couldn’t believe how expansive (and cold) it was. And the Hoh Rain Forest is so different than our evergreen forests. It just amazes me that our state’s geography is so diverse.

Not only is our geography diverse, but we also have diverse towns and cities. We have lots of people with different cultures and backgrounds. We have rural communities, small towns and big towns. We have big cities on the west side like Seattle and Tacoma that just have a different feel to them. I love going to visit them to enjoy the big-city vibes for a short time, but I am content to come back home.

To me, Yakima is the perfect mix of town and city, wilderness and suburb, and all four seasons. I am thankful to call Yakima my home.

Anna Ergeson is a Selah High School senior.

Jessica McDonald is a Zillah High School senior.

Abigail Bailey is a West Valley High School sophomore.

Anabelle Kollman is an Eisenhower High School freshman.