FAIRMONT – Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday that offers Americans a chance to look back over the past year and think about all the things we are grateful for.

The Times West Virginian asked students and faculty at Fairmont State University what they are thankful for most this year.

Jackie Kovach, 20, of Jane Lew, is a junior at Fairmont State University where she is majoring in theatre arts.

“I’m thankful for my family, friends, and the opportunities I have received,” Kovach said.

Eighteen-year-old Shannon Knowlton, of Cameron, W.Va. is a freshman at Fairmont State where she is majoring in architectural

engineering technology. She is grateful for the chance she has to get a college education.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity of getting to go to college and having my finances paid for through financial aid. College has offered many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Knowlton said.

Fairmont State sophomore Barbara Wallace, 19, of Williamstown, W.Va. is majoring in psychology. Her mind is on her friends this holiday season.

“I’m thankful for the friendships that I have gained and rekindled over my time in college,” she said.

Many students said they are grateful for those who offer support because college, and being far away from home, can be stressful.

“I’m thankful for all the people who support me,” said Scotlynn Straight, 20, of New Martinsville, W.Va. A sophomore, Straight is majoring in elementary education.

And while the country of Vietnam is not usually associated with celebrating the American Thanksgiving holiday, a Fairmont State student from Vietnam is still grateful.

“I’m thankful for God and His blessings in my life. I’m also thankful for the love, support, and encouragement from my family and friends,” said 22-year-old Trang Hong, of Ho Chi Minh City. Hong is a senior who is majoring in nursing and healthcare management.

Coming to West Virginia from San Jose, Costa Rica to teach Spanish part-time at Fairmont State, 27-year-old Pamela Zamora Quesada said she is grateful for the food and so much more.

“I’m thankful for new experiences because they have taught me to enjoy the present. I am thankful for people and the community I have around,” Quesada said.

Marion County native Koda Haught, 20, said she has no limits on her thankfulness.

“I’m thankful for everything; my family, my friends, my education, and my life,” said Haught, a sophomore and Fairview resident who is majoring in criminal justice and psychology.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Matthew Moore, 28, of Fairmont, is a sophomore and is pursuing a degree in political science.

“I’m thankful for my loving girlfriend who has always supported me,” Moore said.

Like Moore, 19-year-old Caomi Fitz of Fairmont, said she is thankful for the support she receives and is also able to give to others.

“I’m thankful for the people who take the time out of their day to make other people happy and to take care of themselves too. I’m thankful for being around these people,” said Fitz, a freshman who is majoring in psychology.

Annalisa Hall, 19, of Parkersburg, is a sophomore and is majoring in marketing. She is thankful for the encouragement she receives from her family.

“I’m thankful for having a supportive family that no matter how crazy my dream is, they encourage me to pursue it,” Hall said.

Francene Kirk, 59, of Morgantown, is a professor of communication and theatre arts who says she is thankful for most everything.

“I’m thankful for my students, my colleagues, my family, particularly my sisters and my nieces and nephews. I’m thankful for the artistic opportunities to do and show my artistic work with like-minded artists,” Kirk said.

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