WINGATE, Pa. (CBS Local) — Ember Robinson, a second-grade student in Pennsylvania who hadn’t seen her military mom in nearly eight months, got the biggest and best surprise of her life on Monday. Principal Jim Orichosky and teacher Shelby Foltz had devised a plan to gather the entire school in the gymnasium at Wingate Elementary School to write and send Valentine’s Day cards to Ember’s mother, Senior Airman Arika Robinson, who stationed in Kuwait.

The students were shown a photo of Robinson and her fellow airmen with the cards the students had sent them for Christmas.

Ember was pointing out her mother in the photo when she turned around to see her standing less than five steps away. She tearfully ran into her mother’s arms.

“There wasn’t a dry eye. The student’s really got it,” Orichosky told the Center Daily Times. “It was really easy for the students to understand what it would be like to be away from your mother, grandmother or father for 7.5 months. Many of the students were very emotional as well.”

Robinson was stationed since June at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait. She was told she would get to return home earlier than scheduled and asked Foltz if there was a way to surprise her daughter at school.

Robinson has been keeping up with her daughter’s schooling during the separation through ClassDojo, a classroom communication app used to share reports, photos and video between parents and teachers.