A Conversation with Lt. Col. Bradly Bucholz, U.S. Air Force


  1. What school year did you graduate from Eisenhower Junior High School?


  1. What grades did you attend the schools in District 61?

Grades 3 – 8

  1. What special memories do have of your time at Mark DeLay and EJH?

When I attended Mark DeLay, the school was K-6.  I have many good          memories of my time there.  When we first moved to Darien, Mrs. Smith was my 3rd grade teacher.  She was one of my favorites because she always treated every student as though they were special.  Another vivid memory was our trip to Lake Geneva for outdoor education.  The weather turned very cold.  Miss Lewis helped us make maple syrup to put on snow. In gym class with Mr. Feind we played my favorite sports – kickball, hockey, and indoor soccer.  I also remember Art Awareness with Mrs. Tanouye and other parents and the holiday parties with games and treats provided by parents.  I attended EJH for 7th and 8th grades.  A vivid memory is the band trip to Virginia Beach with Mr. Larson, where we won 1st place in competition.  In the wrestling program with Dr. Pederson and Mr. Esposito, we learned wrestling moves and all about wrestling competition.  I also played soccer and baseball.

  1. Who were some of your memorable teachers and why?
  • Miss Kelly, my 6th grade teacher. She had us do an egg drop project.  We all made contraptions to protect our eggs and dropped them off the roof on one of the last days of school.  I remember her teaching us lessons about magnets that really piqued my interest in science and physics.
  • Rodkin, my social studies teacher at EJH. She would dress up like a person in the historical period we were studying, and she would bring in replicas of tools and artifacts.  I think I learned the most in this class and I can still picture a cardboard cutout of Bill Clinton playing the sax in the corner of the room.
  • Slifka, a science teacher at EJH. Her class was my favorite and helped lead me to my career today.  I loved learning about chemistry and electrical circuits.
  • Larson, the band director. I remember practicing and practicing.  Not only did we practice our music, but we practiced marching.
  • Pederson, the principal and wrestling coach. He had the most lasting effect on me and my future self.  He was a great mentor to young men.  He would apply life lessons to situations that went well beyond wrestling.  It did not matter if you were the best or the worst, he treated everyone equally and always with respect.
  1. What clubs, sports, or extracurricular activities were you involved in?

I was in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs.  In 5th grade I played football at Mark DeLay.  I played soccer at EJH and was a member of the wrestling team.  Additionally, I played the baritone and tuba in the band from 4th grade till 8th grade.

  1. Did you receive any special recognition or awards, or are proud of any personal accomplishments in school?

I was recognized as being the Science Award winner in 8th grade and got my name on a plaque outside the science classrooms.

  1. If you could say anything to the current students of Darien District 61, what would that be?

If I could say anything to the current District 61 students, I would want to   tell them:  Listen and trust your teachers.  They are working their hardest to teach you the skills needed to make you a successful and resilient grown up.  Even, if you cannot see it right now, they are making positive differences in your life.  The skills they teach and confidence they are building in you will outline your future successes.  Your teachers are teaching both “book smarts” and life knowledge.  You have great teachers pushing you to succeed not only while you are here in District 61 but even after you have graduated.  Try not to be lazy.  I learned this from my mom.  She is always doing something and, the majority of the time, it is for someone else. When I was in high school, my Introduction to Technology class did a bad job of cleaning up at the end of the day.  We all had to stay after school to fix our mistake.  The teacher asked,” Why is there always enough time to do it right the second time, but never enough time to do it right the first time.”  That has really stuck with me.  Laziness means more work in the long run.

Additionally, here are a few other Words of Wisdom:

  • You are going to fail and it is ok. You can learn just as much from your failures as from your wins.
  • No one comes to work or school in the morning thinking that they are going to put in the worst possible effort.
  • Everyone has value. You need to find it and sometimes you have to help someone else find theirs.
  • Never give up. You never know what you might miss out on and that success can be one more try away.
  • Even if, year after year you are the first one out in the annual spelling bee, you can still be successful.


  1. When were your born?

January 5, 1981

  1. Where did you live when you attended school in District 61?

70th Street, Darien

  1. Where do you live now?

Yokota Air Base, Japan

  1. Where did you go to school after leaving District 61?

After graduating from Eisenhower Jr. High, I attended Hinsdale South High School, graduating in 1999.  I received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 2003.

  1. What are your current hobbies, interests, and activities?

I enjoy home construction, working on my 1966 Mustang, camping, hiking, spending time with my family, and exploring.

  1. Are you married? Family?

Married to Erin Bucholz.  We have 2 boys – John (7) and Matt (6).

  1. What are your plans/goals for the future?

I would like to be promoted to a Colonel in the Air Force.  I enjoy commanding Airmen in the field and hope to have that opportunity again.  At a minimum I plan to stay in the Air Force at least 3 years, when I can retire.  However, I plan on staying in as long as I am having fun.  After the Air Force, I do not have definitive plans.  I want to do something that I will enjoy and allow me to spend time with my family.  I might work on renovating homes to rent.  I might look for a second career in facility management or another Engineering related area.  I also look forward to spending time with my wife and boys.