A familiar face returned to Fayette Elementary School Monday morning—familiar, at least, to the sixth grade class.
Cameron Thompson served as the social studies teacher for those pupils in the first semester of the 2006-07 school year. Then he heard from his Uncle Sam.
Mr. Thompson attended the University of Findlay as a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). In trade for an education paid for by the government, he agreed to give eight years of military service.
Mr. Thompson served four years, then deactivated his status with the military and took a teaching job with the Fayette school district. That lasted a year and a half before he was ordered to report for duty at Ft. Sill, Okla., and then move on to Camp Shelby, Miss., for four months of training.
Those four months were very helpful, Mr. Thompson said. He joined a group of soldiers made up mostly of National Guard units from California. This brought together soldiers with a wide variety of skills and experience, and the long training period was beneficial.
Mr. Thompson ended up spending 11 months in Kuwait and Iraq, and he hopes this will be the end of his service, although he knows that in an emergency he would be called up again to fulfill his remaining 11 months, if not more.
The service he’s interested in now is in the classroom.
“I’m hoping to pick up where I left off,” he said.
Fifth and sixth grade students gathered in the cafeteria Monday morning when Mr. Thompson made a brief visit—and an impromptu speech.
“The last year and a half has been a long time for me,” he said. “The best thing about being back is being around all of you again,” he said. “I’m really happy to be back with my friends and teachers again.”
Mr. Thompson said he looks forward to the next school year and having the time to talk with his former students.
But what about the mustache? asked one student.
Mr. Thompson made occasional e-mail contact with students and one of his letters talked about a mustache-growing contest.
At first, he tried to convince the students that the mustache they saw in the photo was just a fake one, but then he admitted that he entered the contest.
It was just a way of passing the time in the Middle East.
“I shaved it off as fast as I could,” he said. “We like to do things to entertain ourselves.