It was supposed to be the usual Christmas concert and singalong at Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield. In the end, a brother and sister got a tear-filled surprise.

Navy Seaman Apprentice Emma Zabinski is stationed in Norfolk, Va., and only sees her family in Minnesota for the holidays. She thought she was coming home at New Year’s. When she found out she could come home for Christmas, she decided to surprise her sister Martu and her brother Thomas at their high school.

As Holy Angels students started filing in for the concert, they noticed many members of the media waiting with cameras poised. School officials told them the media were here to videotape the concert.

Martu, a sophomore, and Thomas, a freshman, were asked to come down to the floor of the gym as those in the packed gymnasium stands watched closely and cheered.

Around the corner came their sister Emma. Martu immediately smiled and ran over to her sister who was ready with a big hug. Thomas joined in, too. The entire student body erupted in applause and cheers. It was a moment treasured even more since Emma is waiting to find out when she will be deployed.

“It was amazing,” said Emma. “Mostly just wanted to come surprise my siblings for the holidays. I didn’t expect them to be so emotional.”

“I thought it was just going to be the singalong we usually do,” said Martu. “I wasn’t expecting her to be here.”