Turkey gets presidential pardon This picture taken Nov. 19, 2015, in Modesto, Calif., shows a turkey selected for a pardon from the Thanksgiving dinner table by President Obama. A class of fifth grade students from nearby Eisenhut Elementary School cheered for their favorite as Foster Farms staffers picked the prized bird. (AP Photo/Scott Smith)
Turkey gets presidential pardon
Lexile

He strutted, he gobbled and he puffed up his feathers like his life depended on it. And it did.
 
The turkey's outgoing personality and good looks helped spare him from the Thanksgiving plate. The bird, named Tom One, was chosen for a presidential pardon from a dozen finalists at a Northern California farm.
 
The bird will board a flight called Turkey One in San Francisco to head to the White House ceremony with President Barack Obama ahead of the holiday. After that, he will be sent to live at a farm in Virginia.
 
Picking the lucky gobbler wasn't easy. He was among a dozen birds vying for the pardon at a Foster Farms ranch in Modesto, California, where a class of fifth-grade students cheered on the show.
 
"I think that bird is going to be lucky for the rest of his life, man," said Angel Avila, a 10-year-old student at Eisenhut Elementary in Modesto.
 
As the students watched and shouted for their pick, Foster Farms manager Joe Hedden and his team inspected the birds. They put each on a stand and ran their hands over the feathers, body and head.
 
They let each walk around and waited for something to catch their attention.
 
"Turkey! Turkey!" the students chanted as judges picked the best bird.
 
Tom One was a clear winner, putting on a show by strutting his stuff: He puffed up his bright-white feathers and gobbled. Above all, personality won the day, Hedden said.
 
"We want to present the president with a well-mannered and socially skilled turkey that's going to act right on the big day," he said.
 
The first turkey was officially granted a presidential pardon in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush, starting an annual holiday tradition.
 
Foster Farms won the honor of providing this year's turkey. They selected the best one and an alternate, called Tom Two.
 
Hundreds of students from throughout California sent in their suggested names for the turkeys, which are given their formal names at the White House.
 
Ira Brill, Foster Farms' director of communications, said the pardoning ceremony symbolizes a rare time when Americans come together.
 
"I think it's really an opportunity for any president - whatever his party - to reach out to the American public," Brill said. "This is one of the few days that we all share something in common."

Filed Under:  
Assigned 37 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What were key criteria for the selection?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (23)
  • zackd-ver
    11/25/2015 - 12:12 a.m.

    I'd sure like to see this turkey he seems very cool and interesting, I also think it's weird that they would spend all of this time and money to send a turkey all the way out to d.c. From San Francisco.

  • baileyh.-tay
    11/30/2015 - 04:00 p.m.

    I did not know that there was a holiday dedicated to the survival of the country's best turkey! I will try to learn more about the holidays going on everyday in our country I never thought existed!

  • collinf-2-bar
    11/30/2015 - 10:49 p.m.

    The key criteria for the selection were personality and looks. "The turkey's outgoing personality and good looks helped spare him from the Thanksgiving plate."

    I was surprised that they are making such a big deal over a turkey.

  • britneyh-kra
    12/01/2015 - 04:29 p.m.

    The key criteria was there personality. Another thing that got them selected was there looks. "The turkeys outgoing personality and good looks happened to spare him from the dinner plait".

  • robertk-nar
    12/02/2015 - 06:14 p.m.

    I did not know they did that. why do they do that? its just a turkey the best part of thanks giving!

  • dylanw-hor
    12/03/2015 - 02:33 p.m.

    I really like that the president picked a turkey to be pardoned from thanksgiving I think the authors purpose was to inform us about the pardoned turkey.

  • gabriels-sta
    12/07/2015 - 02:25 p.m.

    I think that the presidential pardon is nice because you are sparing an animal's life.

  • willf7-sta
    12/07/2015 - 02:35 p.m.

    I think its cool that the winning turkey gets to get a presidential pardon and gets to fly from San Fransisco to Washington, D.C.!Plus it was a life or death situation for the turkeys. Also, it would be cool to be at the place where they selected the turkey to get a presidential pardon in Washington, D.C.

  • shubhg-sta
    12/07/2015 - 02:38 p.m.

    From my point of view, I think that this turkey was lucky compared to most turkeys. It will be fun to head to the White House ceremony from San Francisco to Washington D.C. Plus it would be a life and death situation for a turkey which is why Tom One is lucky. I like the name Tom One.This article was really neat.

  • ethane5-sta
    12/07/2015 - 02:38 p.m.

    I didn't know they saved the turkey every thanksgiving. I thought it would have started more recent than 1989. I liked the article.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT