Soldier Surprises Son’s 2nd-Grade Class at Hampton School

By: Anita Blanton

During a long deployment, a locally-based Army sergeant has been Skyping with his son’s second-grade class in Hampton. But on Wednesday, he dropped by for a surprise in-person visit.

“I told my kids you all were coming to interview me for breast cancer awareness, because I’m a breast cancer survivor of three years,” said Sandy Diana, Aden Holmes teacher at Armstrong School for the Arts. “When he saw his dad, my heart was just overwhelmed. It’s hard on these kids when their parents are away, and he knew that his dad loved him with all of his heart.”

Photos: Homecoming surprise in Hampton

Holmes father, Sgt. Major James Holmes, has been deployed in Afghanistan for the entire school year. Miss Diana’s class has learned a lot from him during that time because he’s been sharing pictures from his travels through Skype. But there’s nothing quite like the real thing.

On Wednesday, the room full of second graders sat and listened closely with cameras all around until the moment when Sgt. Maj. Holmes walked in to surprise his son.

“It’s a relief just knowing your family is okay,” Sgt. Maj. Holmes said. “To see them and to touch them.”

“Aden had a bit of a tough year this year, 2nd grade, emotionally, with dad being away from home,” mother Dorothy Holmes said.

Aden and his sister said they’re looking forward to spending time with their dad fishing, but they’ll be doing a lot of bonding over packing first. The family is transferring to Fort Hood in Texas this week.

The second-grader wasn’t much on words to describe his emotions on Wednesday. He just said he was surprised. His mom said deployments never get easier. They are more bearable, though, with a strong support system, including a teacher like Miss Diana, who knows a thing or two about how to fight.