Tristan Marsh graduated cum laude from CPLS in 2016 and this holiday season he is more than 700 miles away at Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He doesn’t know it, but a very special package will soon arrive in his mailbox.
In high school, Tristan excelled on the football field and on the basketball court. He was also a standout in the classroom with a 3.7 grade point average. But nowhere was he treated more like a rock star than when he entered the kindergarten classroom to serve as a teacher’s aide.
“He’s here…Tristan’s here!” they would shout. With a huge grin he would casually drop down to one knee and greet each kindergartner face to face. He would spend the next 40 minutes reading storybooks or flipping through a stack of flash cards to review sight words like “five” and “purple” and “play”. During recess you could find him outside pushing several kids at once on the swings, helping others scale across the monkey bars, and tying lots of shoelaces.
Those kindergartners are now in 3rd grade and these days they (mostly) tie their own shoelaces. But, they fondly remember their time with Tristan and wanted to do something special for him while he is away from his family and friends during this Christmas season.
Darla Hass teaches grammar to third grade students and spends a unit focused on teaching the correct form and composition of writing a friendly letter. Each student completes the project by writing a letter to someone and this year they chose to write Tristan. The letters were all bundled together and mailed last week.
The bond that Tristan created with these students during his time as their teachers’ aide has left a huge impression. “I just remember that Tristan could do the most awesome backflips!” Cooper Russell said. And Dalan Babbit recalled how Tristan would kick the soccer ball around during recess and make them laugh.
Tristan will graduate from basic training in December and then transition to his next assignment near Dallas. He hopes to work in Avionics with the electronic systems that aircraft and satellites use in communication and navigation. He plans to continue his education while in the military and earn a masters’ degree. His parents, Richard and Tricia March, are proud that Tristan is continuing a family tradition of military service and will travel with his sister, Zion (8th) to San Antonio for graduation in a couple of weeks.
“I just hope that (our letters) encourage him like he always encouraged us” – Judah Congdon