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Hawley Dad Visits Kindergarten After Returning From Army Assignment



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Hawley Elementary School student Payton Plourde had a special guest visitor to her kindergarten class April 21 — her father.

Christopher Plourde, a logistics non-commissioned officer (NCO) with the Army had been stationed for 40 days at Fort Knox in Kentucky.

He had meant to surprise Payton at school the day before, but his arrival was delayed. Instead he returned home in the early morning hours.

His wife Amber Plourde said she typically does not tell their two girls — Payton, who is 6, and Hadleigh, who is 3 — when their father will return home from his work with the Army. Payton is more used to it, as he has been traveling for work since she was little, and Payton was still happily surprised to find him home.

According to Christopher Plourde, he arrived home around 2 am. Hadleigh found him first by entering the bedroom asking for her mom and instead, finding her father. And then Payton learned he was home when he woke her up to bring her to school on April 21.

“They actually cried with happiness and were very, very surprised,” Amber Plourde said. For Hadleigh it had been the longest time without her father home to date.

Amber Plourde, who is a dental assistant in Southington, said April was the annual Month of the Military Child, which honors military children for all that they too sacrifice.

Having Hawley kindergarten teacher Melissa Massett as Payton’s teacher this year has helped navigate the emotional responses Payton can have, Amber Plourde shared.

“She’s been really understanding and really great with helping me navigate those times,” said Amber Plourde.

Visiting Hawley with Payton that day was “fun,” Christopher Plourde said. Payton was “super excited for me to be home.” She showed him off to her classmates, who he had visited with for Veterans Day, too. The students asked him questions this time about what he does and photos were taken.

Massett shared after the visit that the focus was more on how Payton handled the time away from her father, and the entire class talked about how “families are kind to share their service members with the country as they serve and protect.”

Payton also had balloons behind her chair all day “to feel special,” Massett shared.

Education Editor Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

From left, Hawley Elementary School Principal Christopher Moretti, kindergarten student Payton Plourde, and her father Christopher Plourde, a logistics non-commissioned officer (NCO) with the Army, stand together at the school on April 21.
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