Skylar Johnson had not seen her father since last Christmas, so when her teacher asked the nine-year-old how to spell "sergeant," she was shocked when her dad Staff Sergeant Therron Johnson appeared from behind a curtain.
Sergeant Johnson and his little girl then embraced for the first time in almost a year at Boca Raton Elementary in Florida. An Avionics Line Supervisor with Florida National Guard, Sergeant Johnson has been serving in Iraq for the past ten months.
Skylar was asked by her teacher if she knows any sergeants after spelling "sergeant" and she said "my dad."
"Your dad? Wow, her dad is a sergeant," her teacher told the class. "That's kind of funny because today we have a very special sergeant here."
A curtain opened behind her, revealing Sergeant Johnson dressed in his National Guard uniform. The pair embrace and he said to her: "I love you baby! I love you so much!"
Sergeant Johnson also presented the school with an American flag that flew over Iraq to thank it for its help in planning the reunion.
He had called school officials three weeks ago to let them know Skylar would be out of class for a few days while he was in town, and they wanted to make the reunion something special, so they planned the fake spelling bee.
"There are no words to explain how special this was," he said. "To have her whole class, everybody be a part of this, it was very, very special to me."
Sergeant Johnson has nine days to spend with his family, including Skylar's tenth birthday, before he returns to Iraq.
"I really hope he didn't get me a present, because this one, you can't beat it," she said. "Whatever he buys, he can't beat it."