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Bowie Elementary Student Surprised By a Soldier
03/06/2017
 AStaff Sgt. Jarayle Williams surprised his godson Elijah Jones during an awards ceremony at Bowie Elementary. It had been two years since Elijah had seen Williams, who had been deployed to Afghanistan and is now stationed at Ft. Bragg.
Photo by Carrie Pryor-Newman

Staff Sgt. Jarayle Williams surprised his godson Elijah Jones during an awards ceremony at Bowie Elementary. It had been two years since Elijah had seen Williams, who had been deployed to Afghanistan and is now stationed at Ft. Bragg.

 

 
Bowie Elementary Student Surprised By a Soldier

By: Susan Passmore
Elijah Jones didn’t expect to hear his name called as one of the winners of the Most Improved Reader award. But he was even more surprised when his godfather Staff Sgt. Jarayle Williams stepped out to present it to him along with some dog tags.

Williams had been deployed to Afghanistan and is now stationed in North Carolina, so Elijah hadn’t seen him for two years. Elijah certainly wasn’t expecting to have this man, who is a father figure to him, show up at Bowie Elementary, but the look on his face was priceless. The other students were just as excited to have a “real soldier” in their library.

Elijah’s mother Enjoli Jones decided to surprise him when she found out that Williams, who has served in the United States Army for 12 years, was coming in to visit, so she set the wheels in motion with the school as well as the media. It was difficult to keep the surprise from Elijah, especially when she found out Williams had missed his flight, and she had to contact everyone the night before to change the time. With the help of Erica Mares, Bowie’s counselor, and Blanca Capetillo, principal, all participants were contacted, and everything went as planned.

Williams plans to enjoy playing basketball and riding a motorcycle with Elijah for a few days, but he’ll also get to take him to the set of the film in which Elijah has been selected to appear. At the age of 6, Elijah is quite a little actor, and he will enjoy showing off his godfather.

A graduate of Westfield High School in Houston, Williams also has spent time in Iraq, Qatar and Kuwait. He related to the book that Candice Dryden from Baytown GMC Buick, Bowie’s Partner In Education through the Baytown Chamber of Commerce, read to the students before he made his appearance, which was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” His wife Sylvia serves in the Army and is stationed at Ft. Bragg, but they have been in Iraq and Afghanistan on the same rotation.

The excited students had many questions, especially about how Williams became a soldier.

“I studied, stayed in school, had fun with my friends and, eventually, just wanted to be a soldier, so I grew up and that’s what I pursued,” Williams said. “Don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dream – always pursue it.”

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