Reagan Compton read a passage from her textbook. Her eyes focused on the words. But the sixth grader's mind and her heart were half a world away.
"I'm not excited and not all talking and being happy all the time," she admitted.
The button pinned to Reagan's blouse was her dad Harold. Like many parents, he was overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"I'm very nervous that he might get hurt," Reagan said.
Reagan's mom considers her youngest daughter a tough little cookie. But being tough doesn't always protect you from sadness. So earlier this month, when Harold Compton got sent to Kuwait with the 1108th AVCRAD unit out of Gulfport, Reagan tried to show her pride. But she had a hard time keeping a smile on her face. So she turned to her teacher for some help.
"I asked my teacher about the yellow ribbons and she said she thought it would be a good idea if we started making them," Reagan said.
Last week, Reagan made a ribbon out of yellow paper, and taped it above room 115. Then she made another ribbon. And another. And another.
Erin DeBack is Reagan's sixth grade teacher. "She just kept making them," the teacher said. "Big, giant ones. Little ones. All sizes."
Saucier Elementary now has a symbol of love and hope taped over every classroom door. Reagan said she made nearly 50 ribbons, "because it made me feel good that I could do something for my school, and make my daddy proud."
Erin DeBack was proud that the school could find a way to help Reagan cope with her war anxiety.
"Before she felt helpless," said DeBack. "She couldn't do anything. Her dad was gone. But now, I think she feels like she contributed."
Reagan has a 13 year old brother, and a 17 year old sister who graduates this May from Harrison Central High School. Her sister actually visited Saucier Elementary last week, to help Reagan make some of the ribbons.