College Campus Honors Students Off Fighting In War

They've gone from worrying about tests and homework to the dangers of the battlefield and now their school is acknowledging their sacrifice. More than 40 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College students put their education on hold to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom, including four from the Perkinston campus.

At a service on Tuesday, instructors said without those military men and women, class just isn't the same.

"Lord, we pray that you'll be with these four, as well as with all of our other soldiers," began one prayer.

"You never really think about the sacrifices that are being made for your country until you have to make them yourself," said instructor Tara Moore. "It's such a huge sacrifice that needs to be recognized and remembered always."

The people on this campus want the world to know, they're standing behind the troops.

Instructor Jodie Price said she's "amazed with the compassion and the concerns that the students have. I've been amazed by the outpouring of the generosity in their prayers and concerns and their respect for our military men and women."

The ceremony also included this remembrance tree where people could place the names of the people they love. Two of the students sat in Doctor Marie Heim's class. One Tuesday she wrote their names Lance and Jeffrey.

"Every time I go to class and they're not there, I look at the chairs where they used to sit, and I hope one day real soon they'll come back and be well," said Heim.

In February, Mississippi Gulf Coast community college collected phone cards, cookies and other items to send to students who've been deployed. School officials say it was so successful that another one is underway.