Middle schoolers learn important lessons from soldier overseas

CREATED Feb. 6, 2014

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LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. – Students at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres learned important lessons today from an active duty soldier.

Staff Sergeant Matthew Garcia spoke to the class of seventh graders form his base stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The students in the class were able to ask the soldier questions about his job and what it’s like being over seas.

“If we’re not training we’re doing some sort of academic training,” said SSG Garcia, “which consists of military-civilian education.”

Lindsey Weiss teaches the class and organized the Skype session with the staff sergeant through the Soldier’s Angels foundation.

Weiss said before seeing Garcia face-to-face the class wrote him six letters – and they were pretty surprised when they got one back.

The letters weren’t only to thank the soldier for his service, but also to ask some tough questions like: ‘What’s the hardest thing he had to deal with as a seventh grader?’

“He talks about regular things ya know…sports, his family, his son, his wife,” said Weiss showing me the letters the class got back.

Weiss says she was shocked when the class received the letters, but she was even more surprised when they were able to see SSG Garcia face-to-face.

“I couldn’t believe it. He said ‘Hi Ms. Weiss, this is Staff Sergeant Garcia, and I said are you kidding?’"

The kids were just excited to hear from him, even learning some important lessons along the way.

“Having the stuff that you have - to be happy about it,” said Albert Garcia, a seventh grader, “and not seeing what other people have and what you don't have."

That was just one of several important messages the staff sergeant had for the class.

“I think the important thing to do is not look to your left, to your right...but to be responsible for your own actions,” said SSG Garcia.

“To me, that's what I want for my students,” said Weiss. “I always want them to be the best them they can be.”

Staff Sergeant Garcia has severed multiple tours and is now entering into his eighth year of service.