For the most part, children see the world in a different light. What is tattered and old to adults is fresh and new to children.

And life’s simplest gifts and pleasures, which are often undervalued and overlooked by adults, hold tremendous value and meaning to children.

The Advocate tested this assumption recently when we handed out cameras to 50 third- and fourth-graders at Stonewall Jackson Elementary. The children were paired up and given one week to take pictures of things they are thankful for.

What we wound up with is pictures of parents, teachers, pets and friends, rather than pictures of clothes, electronic gadgets, fancy cars or money.

“As adults, we take for granted the things we’re thankful for,” says Stonewall Jackson principal Olivia Henderson.

“It’s always a pleasure to see that children are thankful for little things like their cats or someone to play checkers with.”

“Too often, we lose track of the small things that are important to children.”

An exhibit of these photos and others taken by the students will be displayed at several neighborhood locations during the upcoming months – watch the Advocate for details.

This project wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of Doctors Hospital, Flash-Back Photography and State Farm Insurance – Annette Stone, who helped pay for the students’ cameras and teachers who pitched in, the Advocate has this to say: Thank you.

Armed for Learning: Nahom Emboye catches a snapshot of class in session on the day students received their cameras. Like his classmates, Nahom enjoyed the freedom of taking pictures.

Three’s Company: Oliver Loving (right) is tight with his two amigos: Peter Loving and Danny Udave. “We play G.I. Joe and ride bikes a lot,” Oliver says. Oliver took this picture by holding the camera out in front of him and his buddies one night when they were camping in the backyard.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Gelila Lulseged and Amanda Moore, two of Alexandra Castroreno’s best friends, share a laugh during class. Alexandra says the three girls enjoy playing and talking on the phone with one another.

The Folks: There’s nobody quite like dear old mom and dad for Victoria Smith. “I’m thankful for mom and dad,” Victoria says. “They’re always nice to me and they love me.”

Clownin’ Around: Gelila Lulseged’s happy-go-lucky manner keeps classmates laughing and having fun. “She’s my best friend,” says Jean Roasa, our young photographer. “She’s always funny.” Jean says she’s thankful to have a friend like Gelila.

“King Me”: Todd Taylor loves playing checkers. “It’s my favorite board game,” he says. “I even beat my mom and dad.” In this particular photo, Todd takes time to snap an action shot of he and a friend in battle.

Reflections of Dad: Nahom Emboye is thankful for the close relationship he and his father share. “I’m thankful for my dad,” Nahom says. “He takes me everywhere and gets me everything I want.”

Hangin’ Out: Jesse Kaiser has known John Davis for most of his life. We all need a best friend, and Jesse describes John as his.

Girl’s Best Friend: “When I don’t have any friends to play with, I can play with him,” says Hannah Hailey of her kitten, Tiger. Although Hannah and Tiger met only recently, they have become the best of friends.

Student Profile: Nathan Ferrantello catches classmate and friend Dimitri Brisco in deep thought. Nathan says he just walked around class trying to catch his classmates in various candid poses.

Out: Tiffany Arnold is at rest after a day of hard work of being a kid. Tiffany says she’s thankful for her grandmother, Sarah Hayes, who took this picture. “She does lots of stuff for us,” Tiffany says.

In Your Face: John Davis enjoyed taking pictures so much, he let his brother, Robert Davis, take a few. In this shot, Robert snaps a close-up of John.

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