KENTLAND, Ind. (WLFI)- Teaching is something one Kentland man had always dreamed of doing, but now his dreams will have to wait.
South Newton Elementary School Teacher Ryan Cinowski is leaving the classroom after he just got in it.
"He's a great role model for kids. He's just an all around great person," South Newton Elementary Assistant Principal Mark Mayhew said.
Ryan Cinowski has been serving in the military for 16 years.
"I like to serve it's always been a part of me," Cinowski said.
He's served at South Newton Elementary School for less than one year.
"I always wanted to be a teacher."
"He is an exceptional teacher. His students relate very well with him," Mayhew said.
Cinowski said he applies his military skills in the classroom.
"It's kind of like the command and control," Cinowski said. "Letting students learn to the best of their abilities and adapting to the way that they learn then trying to find a way to gather all their knowledge up and put it together."
But now he's leaving his fourth-grade soldiers behind.
"Duty calls and I am going overseas," Cinowski said.
"To my knowledge this is the first time we've [South Newton Elementary School] ever had a reservist or a military person be deployed," Mayhew said.
Cinowski has been commissioned to Kuwait as part of Operation Spartan Shield, or OSS, an operation based in the Middle East by the United States Department of Defense.
He was previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.
Before that he was sent to Haiti on a humanitarian mission after the 2010 earthquake.
"My parents were in the air force, they actually met in the air force," CInowski said. "My uncle was a marine, my grandfather was a marine, so I kind of have a family history of military service and I just followed in their footsteps."
Now he's making his own steps, nearly 7,000 miles away from home, to serve the country he loves.
"For me, it's a loyalty and a duty to serve my country," Cinowski said. "A little selfless service."
As for Cinowski's plans after his deployment...
"I plan to make South Newton Elementary my home," Cinowski said.
"I was glad to hear him say this wants to be his home because we're counting on him coming back after his deployment," Mayhew said.
Cinowski's last day at South Newton was May 2nd.
One thing the school is doing to make sure students feel Cinowski is still with them during his deployment is offering small toy army men.
Students and staff have been placing the tiny green soldiers all over the building as a reminder to pray for him and all the other men and women who are serving our country.
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