Students partake in living history |

Students partake in living history

by F.T. Norton
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

During a visit Thursday at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School, Julie Hamilton’s second-grade class had a slew of questions for Pfc. Mike McGee, who just served a tour of duty in Iraq.

Some were frivolous: What’s your favorite snack food? How many uniforms do you have? Do you sleep in your uniform?

“Sometimes when you’re on a mission you don’t have time to bring your pajamas, and me in Superman pajamas out there on a mission, you might be able to spot me,” said the 34-year-old Oregon National Guard medic.

Others were more serious.

“Do you feel relieved after you’re done with your mission?” asked Emma King.

“Yes, it’s like winning a baseball game or football game, or getting the best present you ever got. Every time you get out of a mission you’re very happy and you can relax and take a nap and just calm down,” he said.

“When do you know if it’s time to go outside and fight?” asked student Catherine Wright.

“We’ll know a couple of days in advance when our next job is,” said McGee. “It’s just like going to work. You’ve got a work schedule. So they’ll let us know.”

Hamilton and McGee have been friends since middle school in Sparks, the teacher said. When she heard her friend was going to Iraq, she decided it would be a good lesson for her students.

“This stuff will be in their history books in eighth and ninth grade. This is like living history to them,” she said.

Through Facebook, Hamilton was able to send McGee questions from the students, and he would answer almost immediately, she said.

McGee, a father of two from Grants Pass, Ore., visiting his parents in Reno, told the kids his time with the class was a blessing just days after returning stateside.

“I’m still adjusting. I’m used to just being busy all the time. Now I’m on vacation and I don’t have anything to do. So you guys are a great joy in my life. Thank you so much for letting me come in,” he said.


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