Ballard Elementary rolls out red carpet for teachers

NILES – At Ballard Elementary School, a series of announcements came over the intercom Monday morning instructing teachers to leave classrooms for a secret meeting.

Teachers were taken to a separate room as administrators and staff members stepped into classrooms to take care of the students and let them know what was about to happen. A red carpet was rolled out around the school, and around 500 students were led outside to sit along the hallways.

Teacher Appreciation Week had kicked off at the school.

“We’ve rolled out the red carpet, which is something you do for a fancy and very prestigious event,” came a voice from the loud speakers in the hallways. “We want to recognize [teachers’] talents and everything they do for Ballard.”

Students were reminded to sit down and keep their hands to themselves, but were welcomed to clap and cheer for teachers they recognized. Then, music began to play, and 29 teachers were led in through the front door.

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams played in the hallways and students erupted into singing, cheering and waving as their current and former teachers walked the red carpet around the school.

Teachers like Taylor Van Niel, kindergarten teacher at Ballard Elementary, were surprised by the celebration.

“We got a note on Friday saying to meet at the flagpole at 10:15 a.m. It was not expected, but I had a little bit of an idea something was going on,” Van Niel said.

After walking the red carpet, Van Niel said it was a good kickoff to the week.

“It was really cute and heartwarming, seeing old students I had and students I could have,” she said.

Ballard Elementary School Principal Jennifer Shabazz organized the event to kick off the week for the teachers at the school.

“We wanted to do something that is not just a tangible, like a lunch and things like that. There are special things every day this week, but this was the big kickoff to get all the kids involved, have the office to come down and get involved, and show [the teachers] we appreciate all they do,” Shabazz said.

Shabazz said the schools try to celebrate their educators each year through the week, but this year was even more important.

“Last year was very difficult because we were virtual. It was hard to do,” Shabazz said. “They’ve had a tough year, and they’ve overcome every obstacle beyond what we could imagine.”

Throughout the week, teachers will be treated to snacks and a meal, as well as a “thank you” from the school’s PTO.

“We really wanted this so that they know they are as amazing as they are,” Shabazz said of the teachers at Ballard Elementary School.

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 901,683 cases, 19,902 deaths

Dowagiac

Free Concert Friday caps SMC choir camp

News

Fort St. Joseph Open House returns Aug. 7-8

Dowagiac

City of Dowagiac accepts donation of property for redevelopment

Buchanan

Buchanan leaders hear community development update, resident tree concerns

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 23-26

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Niles, Dowagiac featured stops in Lemon Rally vehicle race

Cass County

9-year-old injured in Cass County ATV accident

Local Government

Mayor presents volunteer with Certificate of Appreciation

Cassopolis

Cassopolis Public Schools superintendent resigns

Berrien County

Niles man gets jail, probation on assault-related charges

News

Two arrested on drug trafficking charges in Niles

Berrien County

Dowagiac woman gets probation, jail time in Berrien County stolen property case

Dowagiac

SMC ETS ventures back outdoors

News

Drunk driver sentenced to prison

Business

Chamber hosts ribbon cutting for Dr. A’s Releaf Center

Business

Niles chamber welcomes in-home health care company to the community

Cassopolis

Police searching for vehicle of interest in Cassopolis shooting

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 21-23

Dowagiac

Three injured in Silver Creek Township crash

Cass County

Former SMC instructor accepts plea deal in sexual misconduct case

Cass County

Vandalia resident sentenced to 10 months in jail for drug offense

Berrien County

Students experiencing homelessness remain hard to identify after year with remote education

Cass County

Dowagiac man heading back to prison on weapons charges