NORTHFIELD, Ohio – Local students have spent the week honoring those who’ve served. But when Kennedy Syllaba wanted to bring in a soldier to Northfield Elementary School, she faced one problem: he’s stationed in Afghanistan.
With the help of her teacher, principal and a few tech experts, Kennedy was able to bring her guest, Staff Sgt. Clinton Davis, to the third grade Tuesday morning.
“He’s the only person that I really know that’s a veteran and he’s always been… not here,” the eight-year-old said.
Davis, 30, is originally from Florida, but his wife is from Northeast Ohio. He’s known Kennedy and her mom Carrie for a number of years.
Third grade teacher Terri Javorsky said everyone was eager to bring the soldier to the classroom. “We’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “I thought it was really neat to learn about what’s going on in Afghanistan as far as like the weather, you know, just like the everyday kind of things. That’s what the kids really relate to.”
The class of 25 asked Davis questions for about a half hour. They asked anything, from his favorite color to hobbies and family. And of course, students’ curiosity peaked at what he was doing overseas. “Some people don’t really know what soldiers do all day, and now we do,” said eight-year-old Leah Jackson.
During the session, Leah admits one thing shocked her the most. “I asked him where he was staying,” Leah said. “I was surprised he was staying in an Eskimo tent. When he says an Eskimo tent, you think about him being in Alaska or something.”
On a big screen in front of the classroom, Davis said he has been serving in the military for eight years, about as long as most of the students have lived. His wife and two children are eagerly awaiting his return, slated around May.
Javorsky said she hopes the chat will peak students' interests in the military and current events. “I hope that they will take this information home with their families and really have nice discussions at home,” she said. “Even if they don’t know anybody who’s serving in the military, giving them the opportunity to talk to somebody who is over there, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The class plans to keep in touch with Staff Sgt. Clinton Davis. Javorsky said the school is planning to send care packages to his unit in Afghanistan.
And as for Kennedy, she’s just glad to finally show off her military friend and give her peers an experience they’ll never forget. “It was exciting to talk to him,” Kennedy said. “I’m glad that everyone finally got to see him.”