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From soldier to educator, principal shares lessons of war

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December 23, 2009 - When David St. Aubin was called to active duty about a year ago he told Interim Principal Mike Ellis, 'I'm going over to Iraq so two or three soldiers can now come home."

"Now he can come home," said Ellis, as GHS students and staff gathered Dec. 22, the day before Christmas vacation, to welcome St. Aubin home after a year- long stint in the Middle East.

A former LakeVille High School principal, St. Aubin replaced long-time GHS Principal Kenneth Andrezjewski, who retired in January 2005. Prior to that he was a U.S. Army Reservist, who attended the Reserve Officer's Training Corps at Western Michigan University, and obtained a master's degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University. St. Aubin, who serves as a drill sergeant, has earned the rank of lieutenant colonel over his 25 years of duty. St. Aubin's mission was to help train Iraqi soldiers so they can better provide security for their own nation.

St. Aubin returned to Flint Bishop Airport on Nov. 25 and will resume duties as principal in January.

"I may retire from the military before I get called up again," said St. Aubin prior to his conversation with the high school students. "I will not be going back to Iraq, that is for sure."

St. Aubin would not rule out a return trip to the Middle East, including Afghanistan.

"That's something I need to talk over with my wife and kids."

Following a rendition of "The Army Goes Rolling Along" by the Goodrich High School band—St. Aubin was welcomed back as principal.

Transcending from soldier to educator, St. Aubin shared with the high school students some of his experiences while on duty.

"I made a promise to a lot of Iraqi people that I would talk to American students about their country and the type of people they are," said St. Aubin. "They are a very loving, wonderful people. They (Iraqis) want democracy. The country has been hit hard by war."

"It's still very dangerous in Baghdad. Still, we are making progress. Some of the city is restored to normal."

St. Aubin said the majority of Iraqis like Amerians and want them there—they even want to erect a statue of George Bush in their town. "He (Bush) ousted one of the worst dictators in the world," St. Aubin said.

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