Hudson High School class surprises teacher with once-in-a-lifetime gift

A Hudson High School teacher won’t soon forget the generosity of his students.

Two ninth-grade students – Carter Caruso and William Hodgson – took a World War II class taught by Greg Gamache during the first semester.

“It was something to look forward to during the day,” Hodgson said.

At one point, Caruso said he took a trip to Arizona with a family member and saw a plane museum with different World War II fighter planes. When he returned, he talked to Gamache about the trip.

Then, an idea took flight.

Both students, who already had an interest in history, decided to go in on a gift for Gamache. They coordinated the effort with the rest of the class, which was made of students in the ninth through 12th grades.

Then, on Thursday, Jan. 20 – the final day of the semester – Gamache received a gift from his students, who had organized everything in secret.

First, Gamache opened a gift that included a Harry Styles t-shirt and cutout, an inside joke among class members. Then came the ultimate surprise.

“We told him he better sit down for it, and he did end up sitting down after opening it,” Hodgson said.

In a video provided by the students, you can see Gamache open an envelope and begin reading the contents.

“Shut up,” Gamache says in the video, which is followed by students’ laughter.  “Oh my gosh,” he then says.

“You guys are kidding me … this is unbelievable,” Gamache says in the video before taking his students’ advice and sitting down.

While Gamache has taught for 21 years, with nine of those at Hudson, he wasn’t expecting papers like these – he will get to ride in a B-25, the type of plane the U.S. used to retaliate against Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Although the plane was never meant to be taken off of an aircraft carrier, Gamache says they were able to bomb Japan before continuing into China. Although some of the planes didn’t make it and the mission didn’t go exactly as planned, he said the mission was more of a message to Japan that said they wouldn’t get away with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Gamache will be able to take the flight at any point between May and October at the south St. Paul Airport since the plane only flies during the summer months. He says he doesn’t yet know when he’ll take the flight.

“I was speechless,” said Gamache, who added that he was full of gratitude. “I was doing all I could to not be emotional. … we teach, and we love our jobs and our students and we care, so to have them reach out and say thank you for all you do, it meant the world to me.”

Gamache said they took a class photo and he thanked each student individually after he opened the gift.

“How they kept it a secret is beyond me, but I was legit surprised, 100%,” he said.

Gamache said everyone got along in the semester-long class, and they had great conversations.

“It was a very productive class, but we could joke around and have fun. … I’m very lucky.”