MCRD Parris Island, S.C. -- Twenty educators from southeastern Michigan and northwestern Ohio experienced Marine Corps recruit training during Recruiting Station Detroit's 2014 Educator Workshop, April 1-4, to gain a better understanding of the Marine Corps.
The Educator Workshop is an annual program conducted by recruiting stations across the United States. The goal of the workshop is to offer educators knowledge when talking to their students about the Marine Corps as a possible career option.
"Not everyone understands the mission of the Marine Corps," said Maj. Matthew Hager, RS Detroit Commanding Officer. "Not only will these educators get to experience recruit training for themselves, but they will be able to go back and share it with their classrooms."
During the four-day workshop, educators received briefs and hands-on training; they met with staff members aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for briefs on educational benefits and met Marines who helped them to fire M16A4 service rifle.
The educators also had the opportunity to eat lunch with recruits from their local areas.
"Sitting down with the recruits for lunch and meeting the commanding generals and Marine Drill Instructors had a positive impact on me," said Bill Kussy, a teacher at Walled Lake Western High School, Walled Lake, Mich. "I now have a better vision of what type of person they are looking for, and it is a good opportunity for students, not just for school, but life skills."
Kussy, who has been an educator for 19 years, teaches social studies, civics, economics and acts as a class sponsor for his high school.
The workshop began April 1 at 6:30 a.m., where all recruits begin their journey of recruit training at MCRD Parris Island, on the yellow footprints. From there, educators spent Wednesday and Thursday running through obstacle courses, firing on rifle ranges and competing in pugil stick bouts with Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructors.
"I am not from a military family background," said Chris Ford, a teacher for 28 years. "The varied careers offered, from being a musician to a postal worker, an air traffic controller to food service are available in the Marines.
"The perception is that everyone is going to be an infantryman. But it is more than that. There are many more options than people are aware of," he said. Some of the briefs the educators received covered various aspects of recruit training and covered the various benefits active-duty Marines receive, such as college tuition assistance.
"I think (Maj. Gen. Lori Reynolds) put it best, you need people to go out and testify to the commitment that military personnel make," said Ford. "And this needs to come from someone who never served, a perceived outsider."
The workshop ended April 4, with the educators attending a graduation ceremony for a company of male and a company of female Marines who completed recruit training.
"It was an excellent experience," said Kussy. "It opened my eyes and it was great to see the kids are in (good) hands here."
The workshop provided an opportunity for both sides to step out of their daily routine.
"I think this is a unique experience for both educators and Marines, because we are both in the business of education," said Hager. "This past week they got to see how the Marines are able to transform young men and women."