MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) – Students, teachers and even the principal at a North Texas middle school pulled off a big surprise celebration for one very special person Monday. February 21 was the first day back for a teacher, coach who is also a Sergeant in the Air Force.

Call it a well-executed mission at Linda Jobe Middle School in Mansfield.

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With students assembled and his wife waiting in the shadows, Air Force Technical Sergeant Troy Harvey walked into a surprise pep rally.

With teachers and students chanting, “U-S-A,” Harvey’s eyes grew wide and he shook his head in disbelief.

The surprise was the brainchild of student council members, who planned the whole thing to let their beloved teacher and coach know how much he was missed during his four months in Afghanistan.

It wasn’t hard to get everyone involved. “So Mavericks, as we celebrate our hero’s return please stand and put your hearts up for Harvey,” student council members urged the crowd.

The message was one the 26-year-old Air Force veteran clearly received.

“When they go through the trouble to set all this up, to express their thanks and love. It’s just amazing,” the coach said proudly, as he wiped away tears.

Jobe Middle School principal Elizabeth Hostin was there helping students every step of the way. “I am physically relaxing, probably for the first time in about four months.”

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Hostin said that Harvey, who is a football, basketball, and leadership coach, has a calming presence that permeates the school. “Having him here gives all of us a sense of peace and comfort.”

Speaking of Harvey 8th grader Dezirae Rodriguez said, “He’s like a ball of joy. He brings happiness wherever he comes.”

Students say having the teacher and coach back in the hallways is a perfect reason to cheer.

“Welcome home Coach Harvey,” the children screamed, as they gave their school leader a standing ovation.

A footnote – the Air Force Tech Sergeant had brought along what he thought would be the surprise of the day. During the welcome home pep rally Coach Harvey presented a gift of his own — a plaque and the American flag that flew over Afghanistan in honor of the school.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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