Atlantis 3rd Graders Made Cards and Posters to Celebrate WWII Veteran’s 102nd Birthday
Third graders cheered, waving American flags and holding up posters as a silver Toyota SUV drove slowly around the loop outside Atlantis’s Lower School. In the passenger seat, with a huge smile on his face, was soon-to-be-102-year-old WWII veteran Joe Bucko of Swansea.
All Mr. Bucko wanted for his birthday this year was birthday cards, so his daughter posted about his wish on Facebook. Word quickly spread
on social media and local news and Atlantis 3rd grade teacher Grace Nunes had an idea.
“I was touched because he’s 102 years old and all he wanted was cards for his birthday,” Ms. Nunes said. “I knew I could get him 22 cards from my classroom, and I asked my team if they would be interested in having their classes make cards for Mr. Bucko as well. They’re an amazing group of teachers, and they all said yes.”
They soon learned Mr. Bucko has a connection to the Atlantis community. A student in one of the other 3rd grade classrooms is Mr. Bucko’s great-grandson. Plans quickly came together for a mini birthday parade at the school.
In the weeks leading up to the event, third graders made cards and posters for Mr. Bucko’s birthday. Then, on Monday, March 14, three classes stood outside the school to wish him a happy birthday.
“Fabulous. I can’t get over it. It’s real, real nice,” Mr. Bucko told local news crews who covered the celebration.
Mr. Bucko served in the U.S. Navy for four years during World War II. He was on convoy duty on a Navy destroyer, escorting ships with soldiers and ammunition from New York to England and acting as lookout for submarines. He says he crossed the Atlantis Ocean eight times.
Ms. Nunes used the event to teach her class about World War II and the early 20th Century when Mr. Bucko was growing up.
“We talked to the children about how Mr. Bucko is a hero and a patriot who served our country, and we talked about the things he has seen in his lifetime,” Nunes said. “The changes in technology alone is incredible. Most likely when he finally got television it was black-and-white and now technology has come such a far way with the invention of the internet, cell phones, and the ability to send messages instantaneously. The children do realize the changes that he has seen.”
Mr. Bucko says Fall River is a lot different today. “You used to go down the street and there were two cars parked and you’d say ‘wow, rich people live here.’ Now if you can find two parking spaces, you’re lucky.”
Mr. Bucko turned 102 years old on Sunday, March 20, 2022.
Watch more from the birthday celebration on FRCMedia News: Atlantis Charter Students Honor WWII Vet’s Birthday Wish