Jacquie Wood’s music class at the MACC record a video for Cara Varela’s father Brian, who is deployed in Afghanistan.
Kindergartner Cara Varela’s father was not home for Christmas, and will not be home for Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get to see her.
Through a video made by her music teacher, Jacquie Wood, Cara’s father, Brian, will get to see her sing a song with her class made just for him.
Wood, music teacher at the Montague Area Childhood Center (MACC) and Oehrli Elementary, knows the pain of not seeing a family member over the holidays.
Last fall, Wood was telling her class at the MACC about her son, Ben, who is in the Army and currently deployed in Kuwait, when one of her students, Cara, raised her hand and said her father is also in the Army and in Afghanistan. Cara’s father would not be with her over Christmas, and told Wood and the class that sometimes she feels sad.
“I shared my sadness that my son will not be home as well,” Wood said. “The little ones seem to understand that that is hard.”
So Wood came up with the idea to send Cara’s father a video for Christmas. The kids were dressed for the holidays, with reindeer antlers and red noses singing their hearts out.
Once the video was finished, Wood sent Brian the finished product on Facebook, and within an hour he had watched it responding that it was the best gift ever.
After the Christmas video was finished, Cara wrote words for a Valentine’s Day song, which Wood decided to set to music. On Wednesday, Wood filmed the children singing and Cara’s mom, Naomi, read the book “A Paper Hug” while Wood read “My Daddy is a Hero.” Cara’s younger brother was also in attendance. The class will also make cards for Brian.
Brian is employed as a diesel mechanic at the Montague Armory and is a graduate of Montague High School. His deployment is expected to be completed in March.
Wood’s son, Ben, will also receive special gifts for Valentine’s Day. Terri Atchison’s second grade class at Oehrli will make cards and write letters which will be sent to Ben, also a graduate of Montague High School, in Kuwait. They also sent him Christmas letters. Wood will film Atchison’s class singing “God Bless America” and send it to Ben. The students are using their writing skills learned in the classroom to write the letters to Ben. His former teachers have already sent him a card and notes and will do the same for Valentine’s Day.
“When you teach elementary school, everything is a lesson you can connect to curriculum and make it come alive,” Wood said.