MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Bielefield Elementary School third grader Anakin Grenier has been letting his hair grow while his father was deployed in Poland.

A year into Dan Grenier’s deployment, he got to see it firsthand when he surprised his son at an emotional homecoming.

“When my wife got me from the airport, it was emotional, but this was, you know, for all of us this is what we’ve been looking forward to for a year, getting back together,” Grenier said.

The school was in on the surprise. At an assembly, teachers changed into costumes and students voted for an upcoming race. After each contestant came out to model their costume, students were asked to be quiet for a special guest.

When Grenier came out, Anakin wasn’t sure at first that it was his father. But after seeing Grenier’s welcoming arms, he knew.

“I had no idea this was happening,” Anakin said. “Mom and Dad didn’t tell me.”

Grenier’s wife asked what he wanted to do when he returned. If it wasn’t a Monday, he said, he wanted to go to New Haven to eat at Sally’s Apizza or Modern Apizza. Europe, he said, can’t match Connecticut pies.

And, perhaps now, Anakin can get a trim.