ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - Rollins Place Elementary's principal worked to pull off one big surprise for four children right before Christmas, and it involved a program that was all a sham.
The program on Monday seemed real - kids were everywhere, the principal was calling out names and giving out fancy medals, but it was all for show.
Two of the four siblings go to Rollins Place Elementary. The older two were visiting the school. They all believed they were there as part of a special assembly to reward kindness, but really their father, Staff Sergeant Daniel Von Kanel is home from Afghanistan and is hiding in another room at the school.
The children have not seen their father for nine months. His wife works at the school and the principal had an idea.
"Katherine works for our school - she is our school clerk and we've seen her for the past few months having her husband deployed and when we heard he was coming home between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and two of her children go to the school- we thought that it was an awesome opportunity to surprise them and welcome him home," said Principal Jennifer Marangos.
After nine long months, the wait was finally over.
"Keep all of these emotions inside- I have missed them - I have missed them a lot - not hearing there little feet and the arguing and yelling - you miss everything," said Staff Sergeant Von Kanel.