Editor's note: the following story and photos were submitted by the Cherokee County School District. The poem Lexi wrote is below the story.
Creekland Middle School sixth-grader Lexi Abrams thought her father was still serving in the Middle East on Monday morning when she stood up in front of her classmates and began reading aloud a poem about heroes that she had composed for a class assignment:
The day you left
You were a theft
Stole my heart
Took it to the other side
The blood, the sweat, the tears
This was my biggest fear
My dear love
I use to snuggle you like a bug
I remember when we met
Our first hello
This may be our last goodbye
When you left with your suitcase
A tear ran from my eye
Lexi was reading the lines she wrote about her father, a technician with the National Guard who had been stationed in western Afghanistan for the past year, when her dad suddenly entered the classroom dressed in his desert uniform and handed her a dozen white roses.
Lexi was overjoyed with the interruption and greeted her dad with a huge hug — and a few tears.
The surprise homecoming was coordinated by the parents and the school in advance, and media were invited to capture the emotional reunion.
Captain Robert Abrams told reporters afterward that he planned to spend a lot of time making up for the last year he spent away from his wife and children while serving his country.
"There's nothing like family," he said. "There's a gap I've got to try and make up, things I've missed."
Lexi said her father enjoys surprising them, and she has missed snuggling on the couch with her dad while watching movies.
"I'm going to put my arms around him and not let go," she told reporters.
The Abramses then went to Avery Elementary school to retrieve their son Preston, who is in second grade at the school.