Eleven months; 47 weeks; 329 days; 7,896 hours; 473,760 minutes; 28,425,600 seconds. In that countable frame of time, a countless number of things happen. Holiday dinners, birthdays, trick or treating, rough days, an entire school year and sporting events. All of which Mr. Sean Cartwright, 38, of Export, will be absent from in both his family’s and student’s lives.
Mr. Cartwright, a science teacher at SHS, will be deploying this month as an infantry member of the National Guard, leaving behind his family – wife Mary, and twin 7-year-old sons Ethan and Sean Jr. – as well as colleagues and students.
“I’m sad that I’m going to be missing my boys’ entire second grade year and everything else that will happen in those 11 months that I’ll be gone,” Mr. Cartwright said of his impending departure.
Mr. Cartwright was informed about the deployment by his unit in February. Mr. Cartwright said he experienced “some anxiety,” but also knew that he would “have time to take care of things” before leaving. Students didn’t find out about his deployment until a week before his last scheduled day in school and wasted no time showing their appreciation for his service in the classroom and on the battlefield.
“It’s like he has two jobs,” said sophomore Abbie Kubasky. “One teaching us and one defending us.”
After hearing the news, students were determined to show Mr. Cartwright how much what he does means to them as well as their respect of him as a person. Sophomore Cassandra Cranston led the production of a video for his send off. The platform for the video was a single question.
“What does Mr. Cartwright mean to you?”
Time and time again, Cartwright’s students answered this question with gratitude and praises for their teacher.
“My main goal for this video is to make this Army guy cry tears of happiness,” said Cranston, “because he’ll realize how much everyone cares about him and how huge of an impact he has made.”
In addition to the video, Dean of Students Mrs. Lindsay DiCasolo declared May 4 – First Sergeant Sean Cartwright’s last day at SHS this year – a schoolwide “Red, White, and Blue Day.” Cartwright’s students also plan to decorate his classroom and have a send off celebration on his last day in school.
“It’s very humbling and an honor that the district as a whole has been extremely supportive, especially at the high school,” Mr. Cartwright said, “because in my position, I see a lot of guys whose employees aren’t so supportive.”
Students and colleagues alike hope that their celebration of Mr. Sean Cartwright on his last day will give him additional strength and demonstrate just how much what he does means to them.
“Twenty years in the Army and the reason I do it has never changed,” said Mr. Cartwright. “I want to serve my country and aid in the protection of the people in it.”
By the time his students and two sons, Ethan and Sean Jr., are out of school for the summer, Mr. Cartwright will be bound for the Middle East on multinational multi-spectrum operations. Other information regarding his deployment are restricted.
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