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Bismarck teacher involves class in soldier’s life

BISMARCK — No matter how long it’s been since students sat in their classroom, teachers never forgets their students. When Bismarck third grade teacher Shanyn Nelson saw one of her former students in a military bulletin, that proved to be true. So true that Nelson decided to turn a good gesture into a learning experience for her students now.

Nelson started her teaching career at Central in 1999. She had a student named Bryce McBride in her class.

“He was always such a good student,” she said. “He was a leader in the classroom. He was the type of student who you felt was going to grow up and do something special. Even after 10 years, you remember your students.”

McBride is now serving in the U.S. Army. He is currently stationed in Germany, but will soon be deployed to Afghanistan. Nelson admitted she didn’t know that McBride was in the Army until she saw his name in a bulletin recently.

“I noticed his named in a newsletter that is put out by Fred Weber,” she said. “It caught my attention because he was a former student of mine. I was surprised to see his name, but I wasn’t surprised he was doing something like this. He was always such a good kid.”

Nelson talked it over with her current students and they decided to put together a care package to send to McBride. They researched on the Internet about items that soldiers most appreciate. They learned for instance that soldiers prefer Pringle potato chips because they can be sealed up after they are opened.

“It’s been a positive learning experience,” Nelson said. “My students and their parents have been very receptive to doing this. I talked to Bryce’s mom and she told us about some of the things that he likes. She said he likes sports and loves Snickers. She also said he is a squadron leader. That didn’t surprise me because I knew the way he was in the classroom.”

Nelson’s class started bringing items in for the care package about two weeks ago. She said it’s now ready to be mailed.

“He doesn’t know about it,” she said. “It’s going to be a surprise.”

Nelson said she plans to put this newspaper article in with the care package.

Chris Cline is a reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact him at 573-431-2010, ext. 114 or at

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