Howard-Ellis, Southside host Veterans Day celebrations

Published 3:29 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

NILES — Niles Community Schools’ Howard-Ellis Elementary and Southside School hosted Veterans Day celebrations to honor Veterans in the community and provide a learning experience for their students. 

At Southside, More than dozens of veterans were honored with a staff/student-made lunch and numerous presentations. Each class made a banner dedicated to a specific war in which the United States participated. The students also wrote poems and made cards for each veteran.

“Everything you’ve done for our country, our freedom and for our rights,” said Northside Child Development Center/Southside School Principal Shawn Major-Winston. “We thank you all for the sacrifices that you made with your families and to go overseas or join the military. That’s a pretty big thing and we honor that and we respect that to the fullest.”

At Howard-Ellis, the event drew in students, veterans, friends and family members, who, together, filled nearly every foldable chair seat in Howard-Ellis’ cafeteria.

The celebration began with the school’s 600 students walking through the cafeteria, giving artwork they created and letters they wrote to veterans. Students lifted up letters spelling out veterans and listing their qualities.

Veteran Sergeant Chad Bundy gave speeches and veterans were recognized by their branches. Cookies and drinks with students followed.

It was the event’s eighth year, first started by third-grade teachers that wanted to host an event recognizing those who served.

Sergeant Bundy enlisted at the age of 17 and was deployed to Iraq in 2003. He was in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10.5 years and is currently a volunteer firefighter.

“I think all of us appreciate it,” he said. “A lot of the community appreciates us but this is a great way to show the kids what they can do for their community and it’s a great way to honor the Veterans, especially those who didn’t have a welcoming home and just to continue to honor the sacrifices they made for all of us before me and then hopefully after me.”

Bundy’s wife, Cassie, is a third grade teacher at Howard-Ellis. She said the celebration is a great way to introduce students to heroes who made sacrifices for their community.

“The kids are really excited about it,” Some don’t know too much about veterans so it’s nice to teach those who don’t learn about veterans and their service to our country at home. ‘ve had some kids tell me that they want to sign up when they get over, so it’s exciting that they want to serve their country afterwards. When I went back to class, kids said it’s awesome ”