Students from Short Avenue Elementary School in the Del Rey area participated in a “What I Am Thankful For” essay contest sponsored by the Short Avenue PTA recently. The students were also involved in a canned food drive for needy families for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Of the more than 70 essays received from students in grades pre-kindergarten to six, second-grade student Val Merrill’s entry stood out as a particularly touching essay that captured the essence of the contest from such a young entrant, says Sheila Butler. His entry is reproduced below.

I am very thankful for my home because many people don’t have homes. It must be very hard to live without a house and I feel sorry for poor people who have no place to eat or sleep.

I have a room with a bed, chair, dresser, toys, and a pet bird. I am lucky to live in such comfort.

My most prized possession is my loving parents. They encourage me to do creative things. They help me to enjoy my life. If I had a wish it would be that every poor and homeless person would have as happy a home as I do.

— Val Merrill, Second Grade Student, Mr. Shikagawa’s Class, Short Avenue Elementary.