Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified teacher Ocie McMillan in a photo caption. The corrected caption appears above.
Gainesville students were happy, happy, happy with the appearance of a surprise guest at their school on Friday.
Phillip McMillan, a character on the hit A&E television series “Duck Dynasty” dropped by Gainesville Middle School as the school’s sixth-graders gathered in the cafeteria under the guise of a routine meeting. It was anything but routine when his cousin, Bart McMillan, first came out practicing duck calls.
“What does that remind you of?” he demanded.
“Duck Dynasty!” the students cheered back at him.
McMillan then introduced his cousin to the surprised audience. Phillip McMillan, who plays the nemesis of the Robertson family on the show, shared some behind-the-scenes secrets, explaining that he’s really good friends with those on the show in real life.
He was primarily there to discuss entrepreneurship, a subject that the students learn in social studies. He talked about how the Robertson brothers built their business.
“It seems like they just pulled a bunch of guys from the woods, from the swamp, dusted them off and made them do duck calls,” McMillan said. “That’s what it looks like. But really, they are very educated.”
In fact, several of the people on the show are college educated, possessing master’s degrees, he said.
“So look, if you want to be successful, you need to stay in school,” McMillan added.
The majority of students had questions about the show, mostly wanting to know if the people they watch on television are anything like their on-screen personas. Madison Carman asked how long it took to film the wedding scene between the two main characters, Phil and Kay, on the first episode of the current season.
“He said that to shoot it, it took 12 hours,” she said.
Carman is a huge “Duck Dynasty” fan, saying she thought she would cry when McMillan first appeared on the stage.
“I love the show so much,” she said. “I’ve seen every episode.”
Teacher and birthday girl Molly Collett received a hug from the TV star.
“I was extremely surprised,” she said, adding that her face was as pink as the shirt she was wearing. “I’m a huge fan of the show.”
McMillan’s appearance on “Duck Dynasty” showed him riding up to brothers Willie and Jase Robertson on a lawn mower, challenging Willie to a race.
He was in Gainesville Friday visiting different companies, sharing some entrepreneurial advice and experience. His cousin, Bart, is the president of Life’s Lessons Ministries, which serves people in the workplace according to the group’s Facebook page.
Bart McMillan’s wife, Ocie, is a teacher at Gainesville Middle School. She helped coordinate the surprise event.
“I think that the students really captured the idea of following your dream, which is what ‘Duck Dynasty’ has done,” Ocie McMillan said. “They’ve followed their dream and they’re having a lot of fun doing it, and that’s important.
“We teach entrepreneurship, and we tell them that if you have a dream, if you want to start a business, follow that. See where it takes you. The sky is the limit.”