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A sweet surprise: Central students present Valentines gifts to National Guard soldiers


With a little help from their teachers, a kindergarten class at Central Elementary School gave a sweet surprise to two National Guard soldiers serving as substitute teachers in Las Cruces Public Schools.

Students presented PFC Brannan Artman and SPC Mario Meraz with Valentine’s candy and a few gift cards to show their appreciation for their service. Artman and Meraz are assigned to LCPS as part of a volunteer mission with the New Mexico National Guard’s 615th Transportation Battalion.  

“It was important for students to show our troops how much we respect their mission here at the district, and how we value their service to our country,” said Courtnay Bernaldez, a master’s student at New Mexico State University who is finishing her student teaching at Central Elementary.  

Along with some chocolates, the soldiers were presented with gift cards to local businesses donated by Santorini, Dion’s and Allen Theaters. 

Central Elementary School, National Guard, Valentines