Participating in services took on new meaning for Community Day School students. On Oct. 13, during morning tefillot, CDS held a surprise ceremony for middle school science teacher Kyle Ison. To celebrate Sgt. Ison’s return from overseas military deployment, students waved American flags and sang a special version of “God Bless America.”
Under the leadership of CDS music teacher Eileen Freedman, students sang:
Welcome back, Mrs. Ison!
Now that your tour is done
You’ll teach us science, and guide us
Through the membranes and the mitochondria.
We’re proud you served us.
Now you’re back in civilian dress.
Welcome back, Mrs. Ison!
Our school is truly blessed.
“Outstanding teachers like Kyle Ison are the true American heroes of our age, as they inspire and guide our next generation,” said CDS head of school Avi Baran Munro.
“That’s why Community Day School is doubly proud to count Mrs. Ison among our ranks as a super-hero who goes above and beyond the call of duty, both in the classroom and in service to our nation.”
Ison joined CDS as a middle school science teacher in 2013. The following year, she was deployed with the 447th Military Police Company from North Canton, Ohio. Subsequently, Ison was transferred to the 363rd Military Police Company, a Reserve unit based in Grafton, W.Va.
During Operation Enduring Freedom — the government’s official name for the Global War on Terrorism — Ison served in the Military Police Corps, which is the uniformed law enforcement branch of the Army.
“I believe that all who are able should serve their country, and I serve both through the military and through teaching,” said Ison, who enlisted in the military six-and-a-half years ago. “My family also has a rich history of military service. I was a senior in high school when 9/11 occurred. I wanted to do my part to keep our country safe.”
Despite deployment overseas, Ison remained actively involved in education. She worked remotely toward a master’s degree in STEM education from California Uni-versity of Pennsylvania and expects to graduate in December 2016. And despite the geographical boundaries, Ison stayed in touch with her CDS students through Face-Time conversations and exchanging letters.
“She stayed really connected to everybody here during her time away,” said CDS director of marketing and PR Jennifer Bails.
The recent surprise ceremony was a means of instructing students on the sacrifices of service.
“We wanted to recognize Mrs. Ison’s courage and resolve during a time when we could come together as a full-school community,” said Mark Minkus, Intermediate and Middle School head. “It was important for all of our students to understand and celebrate the sacrifices that military members and their loved ones make at great personal cost on our behalf.”
With the special service now completed, regular expectations have resumed.
“We are happy for her safe return to our school community and look forward to an exciting year of innovative science instruction in our Middle School under her leadership,” said Munro.
Adam Reinherz can be reached at email@example.com.