Brianna Wright received the surprise of her young life on Thursday morning as she made her way down the hallways of Stanton Elementary School. The 3-year-old seemed stunned as she looked at a towering figure wearing fatigues walking toward her.
It was her father, U.S. Army SSG Christopher Wright coming to pick her up after being deployed for 9 months.
“I feel happy and shocked. She’s grown so much in nine months,” Wright said. “I’m just smiling from ear to ear just seeing her.
Students lined up in the hallways during the homecoming, cheering as Wright walked to his daughter’s classroom. He has been deployed since June of last year, so it was an emotional moment for the father of four.
Wright embraced Brianna, lifting her into his arms where she remained for the duration of his visit.
“She’s happy, but I think she’s a bit shy,” Wright said. “I was little nervous about how she was going to react.”
Brianna is enrolled in the Pathology, Language, Articulation for You (PLAY) class at Stanton, which she attends twice a week. Speech pathology teacher Veronica Navarro was delighted to help set up the surprise when Brianna’s mom Natasha approached her with the idea.
“I was so touched. It’s an emotional time,” Navarro said. “Brianna hasn’t seen her daddy in a long time so it’s very special.”
The school went all out for the event, decorating the hallway with a welcome sign and red, white and blue balloon bouquets, as well as a cake to thank him for his service.
“I would like to thank the teachers for putting this together. I can’t even explain my appreciation,” Wright said. “It felt great walking in with the kids cheering. It felt nice.”
After visiting his youngest, Wright was going to stop by his by his other children’s schools and surprise them as well. He is ready to start spending time with his family.
“I think they already have plans for me. One wants me to go here and another there,” Wright said. “I’m going to be quite busy. Family time from now on. You take that stuff for granted when you’re here 24/7, but when you’re gone you’re like ‘wow.” I want to spend as much time as I can with them.”