POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - It started as a standard assignment and turned into a moving military tribute at Poplar Bluff Junior High School.
Meanwhile, it proves with the right amount of love, even sticky tape, can become a symbol of devotion.
Seventh Grader, Samantha Crossen decided to use pieces of her dad's Marine Dress Blues in her art project for Ms. Mary Ivie's class.
Her dad is Master Sgt. Scott Crossen, a Marine now serving in Japan.
"She told us about the project and I thought it sounded pretty cool," said Samantha. "I was trying to decide what to use and I decided on my dad's hat and his boot. I hope he'll be glad that I decided to do that when he sees it. To think they give their lives every day. I think it's really cool that he protects his country."
"Right away I knew this would be more than an art project," said her teacher Mary Ivie.
Students choose an object to cover with sticky tape and then it carve out. It's formed by putting five layers of tape sticky side up then five layers sticky side down.
"I was really careful with this one," said Ivie.
Ivie says no student has ever brought in something so personal.
"I watched her all the love and care that she put into it," said Ivie. "To me it was a daily reminder of what these families have to go thru and the sacrifices."
Other staff members touched by Samantha's choice got involved.
Industrial Arts Teacher Mike Melson carved the letters: USMC. He is also a veteran of the Army and National Guard. .
"She fully understands his sacrifice and in this day and age it gives you high hopes we gave a future," said Melson.
Samantha added family photos. Her favorite is one of herself and her father at a father daughter dance. Others include a moment that's Samantha's mother's favorite, a goodbye hug before Crossen deployed to Iraq.
"I couldn't ask for a better girl," said Jennifer Crossen. "She's so strong and sure of herself. I know it's gotta be hard for her because we move around so much, but it's made her a great person."
For Crossen, Japan is the latest in a long line of deployments including multiple trips to Iraq and Afghanistan.
He won't see the piece in person for several months, but Samantha was able to call him to tell him about her special tribute.
"I think you're one of the smartest and most caring people I've ever met," said Master Sgt. Crossen during a phone call from Japan. " You've always been more mature and I love you so much."
Samantha's dad says she's a seventh grader beyond her years. The young lady hopes her project helps us remember all who serve, especially the one closest to her heart.
"I want them to think about all the veterans that save our lives every day and give us freedom," said Samantha.
This is Crossen's sixth deployment.
They talk on the phone almost every morning and should see each other this summer.
To say the least, Master Sgt. Crossen is very proud of Samantha and his family in Poplar Bluff. He and his wife Jennifer have three children. Samantha is the oldest.