A Special Visitor

LCpl. Mark Scott remembers many things about his time as a first and second grader at May Watts Elementary School. Things like learning cursive as a lefty, running the mile, sledding in the snow and speech class came to mind when the Marine walked back through the front door last week.

The 2009 Neuqua Valley High School graduate visited his former school and talked with fourth grade students, hoping to build a connection with them and create some pen pals for his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

“I kind of want to pass on to (the students) stuff about growing up,” Scott said. “You grow up quick . . . And how important it is to care about the people around you because you never know what’s gonna happen in life.”

Scott and his mother scheduled the visit months ago with May Watts principal Mike Raczak with the hope of setting up some communication between the students and Scott after his deployment. After the visit, Razcak noted Scott’s presence brought a dose of reality he wasn’t expecting.

“I actually got choked up when I was introducing him,” he said. “Just the humanness of being a soldier. And I though it was important that our students know that a soldier is a real person.”

Scott hopes the impression he made on the elementary school students can provide him some extended family from Naperville as he moves toward a new, and as he admits, scary, chapter in his life.

“I’ve never been deployed before,” Scott said. “So I don’t know what it’s going to be like. And support from home would probably be the best thing for me. If my morale gets low I’d just love to have some love and comfort to know that people are at home thinking about me.”

And judging by the raucous applause for the Marine at the end of his presentation, May Watts students will most likely be filling the mailbox when Scott’s time to ship out comes.


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