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Emily Pettaway, the dean of academics for St. Louis Catholic High School of Lake Charles, Louisiana, takes a video of Kayla Jackson, an Algebra I teacher at Ponchatoula High School of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, firing an M16A4 service rifle during an Educators Workshop aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., January 12, 2022. Marine Corps Recruiting Command provides educators workshops as an opportunity for teachers, principals, counselors, coaches and media to experience the basic training process first-hand. The workshops are one of many ways for the attendees to learn about the multitude of opportunities the Marine Corps can provide to young men and women within their communities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Danielle Prentice)

Photo by Sgt. Danielle Prentice

Recruiting Station Baton Rouge and Recruiting Station Fort Lauderdale travel to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for the first Educators Workshop of 2022

9 Feb 2022 | Sgt. Daniella Prentice 6th Marine Corps District

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C.—Members of the education system and media outlets from Louisiana and Florida attended an Educators Workshop aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, January 11 – 14, 2022.

The workshop provided the attendees with an in-depth experience of what life is like for a Marine Corps recruit.

“The Educators Workshop has been tremendously helpful by giving us a first-hand view to assist our students with questions,” said Gary Blood, the principal at Port Barre High School in Port Barre, Louisiana, with 20 years of experience in the education system. “It gives us a first-hand opportunity instead of seeing something on TV.”

The Recruit Training Regiment provided drill instructors to escort the workshop in the same manner as recruits in training. Drill instructors also provided the same receiving speech recruits go through when they arrive at MCRD Parris Island.

“I loved the experience. My favorite [part] was the yellow footprints,” said Blood. “Arriving up there on the bus, with it being dark and having to get off, and having the DIs [Drill Instructors] hollering at you, and having to get on the yellow footprints. Just being able to see what the brand new recruits see when they first arrive here and the thought process that could be going through their minds.”

According to Blood, many of the educators who attended this workshop have since changed their view of the Marine Corps and armed services. The workshop allowed educators to address their questions and concerns regarding the enlistment process and future opportunities available to their students, which removed any preconceived notions they may have had before participating in the workshop.

“I think it is beneficial for teachers to attend the workshop for a couple of reasons,” said Staff Sgt. Devin Kennett, a Senior Drill Instructor at MCRD Parris Island, and Educators Workshop escort. “One, it gives them first-hand knowledge of the recruit training process. It is a condensed version where they get the basis of what we do with the recruits from processing all the way through to the training they go through. So, they’re able to take that back to their students and actually give them resources or tips and tricks that can help prepare them. Two, it gets the word out about the Marine Corps and about what we have to offer. There are a lot of kids out there that see the Marine Corps as just a warfighting organization, which we are, but there are a lot of other opportunities out there that the Marine Corps can facilitate for them.”

Educators Workshops provide attendees with the ability to confidently speak about what training is like and what opportunities the Marine Corps has to offer by putting them in simulations of some situations the young men and women endure when they arrive at the recruit depot, and allowing them to ask questions throughout the condensed version of the transformation process. During the tour of the Crucible, recruits’ capstone field training exercise, attendees attempted obstacles at the Leadership Reaction Course. This experience showed them how the recruits’ ability to critically think as a team is tested in various scenarios over one portion of the 54-hour training event. They were also provided several classroom-style periods of instruction where they were taught about the family readiness, tuition assistance, and many other programs and opportunities the Marine Corps provides to Marines and their families.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, and it has completely changed my perspective of the military,” said Emily Pettaway, the dean of education at St. Louis Catholic School in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “Before this workshop, I would have been reluctant to encourage my son to join a branch of the military. However, after this amazing experience and learning about all of the opportunities, I would be so proud of him if he chooses to do so. This is an experience I will never forget.”

For more information about becoming an influencer for the Marine Corps or the Marine Corps Educators Workshop, visit https://rmi.marines.com/influencer or https://www.mcrc.marines.mil/Outreach/Workshop-Home/.


6th Marine Corps District