SAN ANTONIO — The mission at Jim G. Martin Elementary School Thursday: to surprise two boys who sorely missed their father while he served in the United States Army.
Nathan and Victor Sermino had no clue their school was planning to give them an unforgettable day at school.
“The 6-year-olds have known the secret since 7:00 this morning,” Laura Quiroz said.
Quiroz is young Victor’s teacher. She said his classmates agreed to keep the secret, but they were brimming with excitement.
According to the boy’s mother, her sons had a tougher time dealing with their father’s latest deployment. He was in Afghanistan for nine months.
“'When is daddy coming home?'” Tiffany says. “Having to explain it to them.”
She told her sons dad is a hero helping people, but that sentiment only coats the heart of a child for a while. At 4 and 6-years-old, the boys want their father present.
“He sent daddy a star – a paper star last night – he and (his) brother,” Quiroz said. “And that it will get to him and someday he will bring it home.”
The boys did not realize their star would rise overnight. School staff helped Tiffany coordinate a reunion for the books.
They used storytime to pull the surprise off. The librarian put on a Babymouse costume to connect to the book "Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon".
“It’s just exciting. It’s like being able to meet your kids and your wife again for the first time,” Victor said.
Tiffany was like a blushing schoolgirl holding on to her husband’s arm as the clock ticked toward the big reveal.
“I have butterflies,” Tiffany said. “I’m excited and anxious for him to see the boys and their reaction.”
Their father was nervous too as he walked down the hallway to a classroom where both of his sons and other students sat for storytime.
“'Babymouse needs a protector,'” said the storyteller. “'But to see her can you do a switcharoo?'"
The students shifted their bodies as instructed. Standing in front of them was Babymouse on the arm of Victor Sermino in Army fatigues.
His sons rushed over to their kneeling father.
“Hey boys. I miss you. Love you, “ he said.
Nathan smiled and hugged his father. Young Victor cried tears of joy as he embraced him too.
Then, the class pulled out a huge paper banner welcoming Victor home.
“I feel like I just won the lottery,” he said.