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District 47 Schools Unite Community and Families in Honor of Veterans Day

Click here to see photos taken at our Veterans Day Celebrations. 

Through community outreach events and projects, District 47 schools are building connections and engaging with veterans locally to give back to those who have served. Students have been actively learning about Veterans Day through music, books, art, guest speakers, school displays, and acts of service, all leading up to Veterans Day assemblies on November 10 where military families are invited, honored, and celebrated. 

South Elementary has partnered with VA hospitals in Chicago, IL, and Topeka, KS, to create 'comfort kits' for homeless and injured veterans, with the intention of delivering them over Veterans Day weekend. Students also had the chance to engage with a current Navy sailor stationed on an aircraft carrier in Japan, who answered their questions via video and shared details about life on the ship. Cathleen Martin, a substitute teacher at South Elementary and the coordinator for South's Veterans Day events states, “Celebrating veterans teaches our students about the importance of service for a greater good, instills a sense of belonging, connection, patriotism, and gratitude for the veterans' time, commitment, and sacrifices.” 

Canterbury and Indian Prairie Elementary students are composing letters to veterans, which they will send to Veterans Path to Hope, a McHenry County nonprofit primarily run by veterans. This organization provides resources, employment opportunities, housing, and other forms of support to veterans. Principal of Canterbury, Stacy Graff, says, “We were looking for local veteran organizations with whom we could connect. When we began to search locally, we found Veterans Path of Hope right down the road from our school. I called them to see if they could handle an influx of letters written to local veterans, and they responded with an excited ‘yes.’ We've continued this partnership ever since.” 

Laura Franz, Executive Director of Veterans Path to Hope, emphasizes the significance of teaching students about Veterans Day, “1% of the population serves in the military to ensure the safety of 100% of us. It is easy to forget this in the background of our daily lives, and Veterans Day is a reminder to all of us to remember and honor those who served.”

Students at Bernotas Middle School created placemats for the McHenry VFW they will use for a dinner to honor veterans. Lundahl Middle School is hosting a Veterans Day breakfast prior to their November 10 assembly, encouraging students to invite any veteran significant in their life. Lundahl student Brooke Bowden is looking forward to welcoming her grandfather to the breakfast stating, “I’m excited and happy, it is a day about him.” Students are identifying the importance of celebrating Veterans Day. “For me, it shows respect and honor to the people that fought,” said Bowden.

All District 47 schools take pride in educating students about the importance of honoring, respecting, and recognizing the sacrifices and service veterans have given to our country and community. One way Canterbury Elementary is doing this is by highlighting the Pledge of Allegiance. “We say the pledge every day, but sometimes it becomes a routine, and we lose sight of the words' importance. By changing the location, gathering around the flag, and revisiting why we say the pledge each day, we hope to have a long-term impact on students that will help them value and appreciate veterans,” stated Stacy Graff. 

Schools throughout District 47 will welcome veterans for their Veterans Day assemblies on November 10. Students have been busy preparing songs and performances for the guests of honor. D47 parent and Army veteran Thomas Kolanko, whose memorabilia was showcased at South Elementary, expressed his appreciation to schools for educating students about Veterans Day, stating, “It means a lot. Just to see my career displayed for students and teachers to see is awesome. Next time you run into a veteran, say thank you for your service.”