The final day of school is always a thrill for students.
However, it turned into a particularly exciting occasion for four Cimino Elementary School students.
Air Force pilot Lt. Col. Gerry Donohue surprised his kids on Friday, June 8, when he showed up unexpectedly at the school after being stationed in southeast Asia for 15 months.
It'd been a year since the Bloomingdale father of six had seen his family.
Donohue said he was able to return home a week earlier than expected to participate in the clapout for fifth-graders at Cimino who will be heading to middle school next fall.
Among the fifth-graders who paraded through the school grounds as an audience of parents, teachers and school staff clapped for them was Antonio Donohue. As the youngster reached the end of the parade, he spotted his father standing there among the well wishers.
Hesitating at first, as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing, Antonio ran into his father's arms for a tear-filled reunion.
The scene was repeated three more times as the other Donohue children, Nicoli, Elias and Gabriella, spotted their father for the first time.
Gerry Donohue's wife, Clara, with the couple's 2- and 3-year-old children in tow, had just picked up her husband from the airport and drove straight to Cimino Elementary for the clapout.
"It's been a long time," said Gerry Donohue shortly after arriving at Cimino. "I can't wait to see the rest of my kids."
"They all thought he was coming home next week," said Clara Donohue. "They're going to be so surprised."
So, how surprised were the kids?
"Very surprised," said Antonio, giving his dad a big hug.