News 12 at 11 o'clock, April 23, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---A local teacher isn't finishing the school year in the classroom, but in fatigues. The Army Reserve is sending the Glenn Hills High School teacher off to Iraq.
It was hugs all around the hallway as teacher Terry Pitts said goodbye, not for summer break, but for a tour of duty.
"It's almost literally like taking off one hat and putting another one for a year," Lieutenant Colonel Pitts said.
That hat is part of his army uniform as he heads to Iraq, to work on communications and networking.
He's been in the Army Reserve about twenty years. For the last five, he's taught science at Glenn Hills High.
"I try really hard to be fun and innovative, not to entertain but to sneak learning in while they're enjoying themselves," he said.
It's a tactic...The students seem to like.
"He was different, like he had a different style. He was kinda corny, but at the same time, he was more understanding," said Angelo Nickerson.
"He's funny, he's energetic, we had kind of a good time in his classroom. There never was a dull moment in his class," said Antquanette Davis.
As for his days in Iraq, he expects to work about 14 hours, leaving little time for anything besides eating and sleeping. He's actually thankful for that to distract him from missing his students and family.
"We'll have e-mail and have pictures attached to e-mails and phone calls but it's still not quite the same thing as being there," he said.
But being there in Iraq is something he can embrace just like any reserve soldier would.
"I feel a professional duty, a responsibility to my fellow soldiers to go and do the best possible job that I can," he said.
From the job of teacher to soldier, it's a walk he's ready to take.