PHOTO STORY: Elementary school hosts 100th birthday party for retired schoolteacher

Published 5:29 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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NILES — A local elementary school celebrated its 100th day of classes in a special way.

Howard-Ellis Elementary School hosted an honor ceremony jointly celebrating the 100th day of school this school year as well as the upcoming 100th birthday of retired schoolteacher, reading specialist and Niles Community Schools advocate Joyce Hickok. 

Former students and close friends, family, and faculty members – including superintendent Dr. Dan Applegate – were on hand for the special event hosted by teacher Betsy Hickok, Joyce’s granddaughter in-law. Applegate presented her with a plaque of honor as guests gathered for light refreshments, storytelling and to recognize the hundred-year legacy Joyce has established. Students celebrated the event by dressing as if they were 100 years old and presented Joyce with 100 roses in honor of her upcoming 100th birthday.

Joyce taught for Niles Community Schools and neighboring districts for approximately 30 years. Joyce was one of the original teachers at Ellis Elementary, which was built in 1963. At the age of 99, Joyce currently serves on the Galien Library Board, a position she was elected to. Matthew Hickok, Joyce’s grandson, was happy to see his grandmother’s legacy honored in this way.

“It’s a legacy of education that my family has in this community dating back more than 60 years,” he said. “The fact that we could honor my grandmother, my aunt who’s also been a teacher, my cousin who’s a teacher and my wife is a teacher – we just have a legacy of education that God has provided for our family here in this community.”