Part of today's lesson in Mrs. Mullicane's third grade class didn't involve math or science, but compassion.
Home from Iraq, Sergeant Casey Culpepper stopped by for a surprise visit. The students adopted Casey during his duty in Iraq. They sent him cards, letters and a care package filled with his favorite goodies. Casey kept in touch with the class by e-mail.
"You know I thought about you guys alot," Culpepper told students. "There were alot of people I thought about, but you had, and still do, a special place in my heart."
The class didn't just have Casey's attention. He constantly had theirs as well. Student Mackenzie Green says Casey was never far from her thoughts.
"When you hear all the stuff on the news about all the stuff that's happening over," shes says, "Then you can't help but think about him."
Casey served for almost a year in Iraq and today the young minds had a variety of questions for the soldier. Everything from "Who is the meanest commander?" to "Have you ever worked at Area 51?"
Casey will return to Fort Sill in Oklahoma next week to finish the remainder of his duty. But he will leave with the memories of school children that always let him know they cared.
"This is going to stay with me forever," he says. "No matter what I do, no matter where I go, I'm going to remember all the things that you guys have done for me."
Today's lesson can't be measured by numbers or tests, but for a lesson in life its an "A+" for the class, and the solider.
Story by Maya Golden, firstname.lastname@example.org