Carolyn Lewis Elementary School in Conway pulled a fast one on third-grade teacher Leah Kotch Thursday when she was surprised by her son, a member of the U.S. Air Force who has been stationed overseas.

Austin Kotch, an explosive ordnance disposal technician for the U.S. Air Force, has been in Lakenheath, England for seven months and will get to spend Christmas and New Years with his family.

The school held a monthly Character Assembly focusing on heroes Thursday.

At the assemblies, students and teachers are recognized for showing good character, awards are given, and sometimes there is a special presentation.

Leah Kotch was standing along the auditorium’s wall supervising the students as they watched a presentation from firefighters when the men introduced the next "hero," Kotch’s son.

Austin Kotch walked from behind the auditorium’s stage to surprise his mother.

Leah Kotch called it "the best Christmas present ever," and told her son he didn’t have to get her anything else for Christmas, "just you."

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at