CONYERS — Heritage High School kicked off “Marching Forward” on Monday, March 4. Throughout the month, the school will highlight several programs and student activities to show students how special they are as they prepare for the Milestones tests and graduation. But on Wednesday afternoon, the Heritage ROTC had a special presentation as well as a special guest.

SPC Amneiah Hodge, and her mother Candice planned a surprise military homecoming for Amneiah’s father Henry, Intel specialist at Heritage, and two younger brothers, Henry and Isiah, who are both in ROTC at Heritage.

As the ROTC counted off and Principal LaTonya Richards asked Henry Hodge to make his way to the center of the school’s atrium, SPC Hodge revealed herself. Students and staff cheered as Henry embraced his daughter.

“It took a lot of effort not to tell them,” said Candice. “We have been planning this since January. There was a lot of ‘changing the subject’ and avoiding questions, but it was all so worth it.”

“I knew she was coming home, I just didn’t know when; March, April,” said Isiah of his sister. “I am so happy to see her.”

Candice explained that the last time Amneiah came home, the family surprised her, and she was just returning the experience.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without Principal LaTonya Richards,” added Candice.

Amneiah proudly serves in the U.S. Army. She was deployed to Zagan, Poland last year and is currently serving in Grafenwöhr, Germany.

She represents Unit HHC BDE 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team 1st Cavalry Division.