Plank North welcomes return of former student, now a Marine

5 May
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Plank North Elementary teacher Marcia Napolitano welcomes her former student.

Here’s a heartwarming story that happened at Plank Road North Elementary School this week, when students got an extra special visit from a freshly-minted U.S. Marine.

For the last three months, the students of Marcia Napolitano’s fourth grade class have been following the progress of Jason Ingerson, one of Napolitano’s former students, as he worked his way through Marine Corps recruit training.

Ingerson, who was in Napolitano’s class during the 2006-2007 academic year, first visited his old classroom back in January, just after he signed up with the USMC and just before he shipped off for boot camp. He answered the students’ questions about his decision to enlist and his family’s reactions, and described the challenges he was expecting to face once he reached Parris Island.

While Jason was away, Plank North Principal Craig Bodensteiner — himself a Marine veteran — gave Napolitano’s students a taste of what boot camp is like, running them through physical drills and lessons on saluting and standing at attention. He also demonstrated the kind of verbal abuse a recruit would have to take from the drill instructor (physical education teacher Kevin Sayers got to play the part of the recruit for that demonstration).

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Last Tuesday, Jason Ingerson returned once again to his old Plank North classroom to greet the students who had helped him through 12 of the most difficult weeks of his life. Standing smartly in blue dress uniform at the front of the room, he answered questions once again. But this time he was a United States Marine.

WHAM Channel 13 was on hand for the reunion, and featured the story as their Tuesday evening Bright Spot segment. You can see that video by clicking here.

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Many thanks to Jennifer Calus of the WCSD for her great photographs.

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