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New Marine to get big holiday greetings
Nick Stone's mother, Joy Haley, looks at cards Carlisle students made for her son, a recent Carlisle graduate who joined the Marines. The children who made the cards included from left, Matthew Huff, Jacob Tisdale, Scarlett Norman and Layla Spencer. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
When new Marine Nick Stone spends his first Christmas away from home, he will know without a doubt people are thinking of him.
He will have a package of more than 100 Christmas cards from his alma mater, Carlisle School.
Stone graduated from Carlisle School in May.
His mother, Joy Haley, expected him to go to college. “He got accepted everywhere” he applied, she said.
On the day of his prom, she learned otherwise. When she took him to get a tuxedo, he said, “Mom, I want to talk to you.” Those ominous words preceded an announcement she took hard: He wanted to join the Marines.
“‘Can’t you think of another branch? They’re always the first to be called,’” was her response.
He replied that he was not ready for college: “‘I think this will turn me into the man I’m striving to be: successful,’” he told her. He particularly wanted the Marines, and he won her over to the idea.
His mother is proud of him. Seeing her son sworn in to the Marines “was remarkable,” she said.
However, she misses him dearly and worries about him. Having him gone is “one of the toughest things I’ve ever gone through,” she said. “I can’t talk to him. I can’t see him, and he’s my only son. Holidays have not been the same.”
He committed to four years of service, she said. He will be assigned to aviation in Florida.
Meanwhile, her family is helping her cope. Her husband is Mike Haley, and her stepsons are Morgan Haley, a student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Madison Haley, a senior at Martinsville High School. Madison really has helped her “fill that void.”
Stone’s grandmother is Thelma Kilby of Martinsville, and his father is Jim Stone of Collinsville.
The idea of making and sending cards came from Howard Huff. His children, Lindsay Isernia, 16, and Matthew Huff, 9, attend Carlisle. He thought it would be a good gesture for Stone, and it also tied in to goals of the Primary Years Program (PYP): attitudes, empathy and caring, he said.
“We do so many things, like Christmas Cheer, for people our kids will never meet,” Huff said. “Everybody knew Nick. It was a tangible way” to put others first.
The Lower School (elementary) teachers coordinated the card-making for their students.
“He might feel surprised” when he receives the cards, said 7-year-old Layla MaKinley Spencer.
They come in an array of colors and designs. Many feature Christmas trees or Santa Claus. While most have red and green, few have camouflage colors. One has a pop-up Christmas tree.
Six-year-old Scarlett Norman was excited to make a card for Stone. She’s known him for years as a participant in shows her mother produced.
“He was a wonderful actor,” said drama coach Ann Norman.
Stone “started fourth grade here,” his mother said. “He really loved the school. The school was really good to him.”
Stone is about to start Phase II of boot camp at Parris Island, she said.