Kids meet family of their 'adopted' Marine
Michael Scholl was a member of Echo Company 2Bn 3rd Marines in Iraq

By Mark Boone / WCNC

Third and fourth graders at Mountain Island Elementary school met Tuesday with the parents and siblings of a Marine who died in Iraq.

The students had sent 15 boxes of letters and gifts to Lance Cpl. Michael Scholl through the military’s “Adopt-a-Soldier” program. The 21-year-old Marine from Friend, Neb., was killed on November 14, 2006, one day after the packages were mailed to Iraq.

“He would have been thrilled that these children adopted him,” said Donna Scholl, the Marine’s stepmother.

Shortly after students learned their ‘adopted’ Marine had died in combat, the school began planning a tribute to him.

“Their almost immediate response is they wanted to do something in tribute to Mike,” Principal Jeffrey Ruppenthal said.

Scholl’s stepmother, father, two sisters and brother were also in Charlotte Tuesday morning as the school unveiled a tree planted as a memorial to the Marine whose 22nd birthday would have been on Memorial Day.

Students tied yellow ribbons to the branches and released red, white and blue balloons.

“I can’t put it into words -- it’s just very, very touching,” Donna Scholl said after the memorial ceremony. “Our loved one’s name is on a rock by a living tree that’s going to grow. It’s always good when somebody remembers your loved one when they’re gone.”

A closed-circuit broadcast displayed pictures of the Marine’s life as the Charlotte school finally saw the Marine they had hoped to help.

Fourth-grader Ada Thompson said she thinks the Scholl family was moved by the school’s memorial.

“We wanted to do something for the family to make the family feel better,” she said.

email me