Katie Perttunen/Daily Globe
THIRD GRADER Xander Stutz collects Halloween cards from his classmates in Sheri Nyquist’s class at Washington Elementary School in Bessemer on Friday. The cards are being sent to Stutz’ father, Gunnery Sergeant Nathan Stutz, and his shipmates aboard the U.S.S. New Orleans, stationed in Dubai.
BESSEMER — Sheri Nyquist’s third grade class at Washington Elementary school gained a welcomed addition for the 2013-’14 school year, Xander Stutz, a new student only in Bessemer for the year while his father, a Marine, is deployed in Dubai on the U.S.S. New Orleans.
Stutz and his mother, Johnnie, are in Bessemer with his grandmother for the school year, and will move back to California when his father, Gunnery Sergeant Nathan Stutz, returns from deployment.
On Friday, the 35 children made Halloween cards to send to Stutz and his shipmates, along with a picture of all the students with their names, so that the Marines could see who the cards were from, Nyquist said.
Along with festive drawings, many messages included thanks and hopes for their safety, Nyquist said.
The Stutz family was able to watch the ship deploy from San Diego before making its way to Bessemer, said Nyquist. Xander estimated the ship to be at least “a football field and a half” long, Nyquist said.
It was a great way to teach the students about “filling the buckets” of others and, in turn, filling their own, Nyquist said.
Students thought the soldiers would say that the cards were “really nice,” “awesome,” “great,” and “very kind.” One student said that the soldiers would say, “Wow, that’s a big class!”