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WDC second-graders surprised by special guest

At the beginning of the school year, Wadena-Deer Creek second-graders in Junelle Jackson’s class made Eliah Anderson their “adopted soldier.”

A 2012 graduate of Wadena-Deer Creek High School, Anderson enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 2013. Mrs. Jackson’s class has been writing and sending special care packages to Anderson during the school year.

As a surprise orchestrated by Jackson, Anderson arrived at the classroom Feb. 26, much to the astonishment and delight of the students.

As part of Anderson’s surprise visit, Jackson asked Anderson to pick out a book and read it to her students in honor of “I Love to Read Month.”

“There is no one more special to us than Eliah,” said Jackson. “His mother, Loni, let me know that he was coming home before he is being deployed to Japan. We arranged his visit as a surprise for my class.”

During his visit, Anderson also answered a variety of questions about his experiences in the U.S. Navy. What the students enjoyed most was how Anderson shared some of the terminology used in the Navy, such as a “cover” is a hat, a “galley” is where they eat, the “rack” is where they sleep, and a water fountain is a “scuttlebutt.”

He also shared with students how strict boot camp was and how on a couple of occasions, his bed wasn’t made correctly.

“Because my bed wasn’t made just right, I had to do push-ups — a lot of them!” he said.

Anderson told students how he had to “read and read and read” when he was attending his information technology training in Florida.

“It’s important to read all the time,” Anderson told the students.

Jackson, who has been “adopting soldiers” as part of a class activity for several years, believes the activity helps not only raise awareness and respect toward military personnel who serve our country, but students get to experience military life through the eyes of those who are serving.

When Anderson is deployed to Japan, Mrs. Jackson asked that he send photos to the class. He said he would enjoy sharing photos and promises to email several photos on life at the Japanese naval base.

Anderson is the son of Loni Niles, who is the media specialist at Wadena-Deer Creek Schools.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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