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Carroll County High School teachers Ben Crutcher and Daniel McCrocklin recently participated in the Marine Corps Educator Workshop at Parris Island, S.C. The teachers completed a four-day program that gave them an overview of how recruits go through basic training.
“It was a four-day whirlwind,” McCrocklin said. “The Marines definitely push the recruits mentally, physically and emotionally.”
Marine Corps Recruiter Sgt. Angel explained that the idea behind the workshop is to give educators the opportunity to see what boot camp is really like.
“If the educators have students who are interested in joining the Marine Corps, they will be able to speak about it from their own experiences of what they saw at Parris Island,” Angel said.
The workshop is held once each year with roughly 50 educators attending each time. Many of the educators have personal ties to the military, so the experience can help them understand what family members have gone through.
“With my dad being former military, I’ve always had an interest,” Crutcher said. “Through the Marine Corps Educator Workshop, I gained a lot of insight into military life.”
Over the four days, teachers, principals and guidance counselors see a broad overview of basic training, from the famous yellow footprints that recruits stand on after arriving at the base to the graduation ceremony.
“I enjoyed how the drill instructors worked hard to simulate the experience for us,” Crutcher said.
On the first full day, educators arrive at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on a military bus and are greeted by drill instructors who waste no time getting them off the bus and in line. The educators learn how to stand, turn and march before being guided to the processing facility.
The experience is not exactly like that of real recruits, however. Between the simulated experiences, drill instructors answer questions and concerns that the educators might have.
“The Marines took great care of us,” Crutcher said.
With high school teachers and administrators working so closely with students who are making decisions about their futures, the Marine Corps Educator Workshop gives educators some talking points that they can share with students who are considering the military.
“The Marines told us that young people who are interested in the military should first speak with their parents,” Crutcher said. “Then, they should look at all of the military branches to see which will be the best fit for them.”
At the end of the four days, the educators get to see a class of recruits go through their graduation ceremony.
“It gave me goose bumps,” Crutcher said. “We got to see kids graduate who had dedicated themselves to 13 intense weeks of training. They had undergone a transformation in that time.”
In addition to completing obstacle courses and shooting M-16 rifles, the educators attend several informational sessions on the various benefits of joining the Marine Corps, such as college tuition assistance. In this setting, the Marines get to interact with educators who can then pass that knowledge on to students who are interested.
“I highly encourage any educator to go,” Crutcher said.
Carl Roberts is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.