As Kayla Stanchfield sat in Spanish class at Tyrell Middle School on Monday, she had no idea her dad would be walking through the door.
Marine Corporal Larry Stanchfield had been in Afghanistan for seven months, but with the training beforehand, he'd been away from home for about a year.
He returned to the United States from duty on Saturday and the family was expecting to reunite with him on Tuesday.
But he decided to surprise his two children at school on Monday.
“It was a little hard at first to recognize her because she grew up so much in the last year, so I was a little nervous (about) the reaction I was going to get out of her,” Cpl. Stanchfield said.
There was no reason to be nervous.
“When he walked in, I didn't expect it at all, because I thought I was going to go with Carrie tomorrow to see him get off the bus, and when he came into the classroom, I was really shocked. I didn't know what to do,” said Kayla Stanchfield.
Neither did her brother, Joe, who was in front of his class at Alcott Elementary School when his father surprised him.
“At first I thought he was one of my classmates, but then I saw him,” said Joe Stanchfield.
“That was really exciting. I know he's been really waiting for me to get back here,” said Cpl. Stanchfield.
“I know how much we've all been waiting for this,” said Carrie Markure, Stanchfield’s girlfriend, who helped arrange the surprise.
Cpl. Stanchfield plans to be home for good this time. Right now, he has no other deployments scheduled and he plans to make the most of his time.
“Lots of vacations, beach, have a lot of fun, make up for lost time,” he said.