Settling into their seats, students at St. Mary's of the Mills school thought they would be sitting through just another school ceremony.
Instead, they got a surprise reunion with a real life hero: Army Captain Mike Eitelman.
Until Wednesday, Eitelman had just been a name on a box. He had been the lucky recipient of care packages students have been sending to the troops on holidays.
Just back from Afghanistan, Eitelman decided to surprise the students. He believes a simple thank you card just wouldn't do it.
"To receive those tidings of well-wishing especially from young people is very meaningful to a lot of guys," he said.
Students on Wednesday said they were the ones who were touched.
"It makes me happy when I help people because I don't expect for anything in return but I know that I'm making those people happy," said student Rachel Kilgallon.