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Marine Corps Educator's Workshop

Assistant Principal Brian Gray inspects the cockpit of a Marine F/A-18 Hornet aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort as part of the Marine Corps Educator’s Workshop.

Forty educators from the southeast region attended the annual Marine Corps Educator's Workshop held at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC from March 4 to March 7. Parkwood Assistant Principal Brian Gray and Lead Driver’s Education Instructor for Sun Valley and Marvin Ridge Kevin Vickers attended this highly selective event and represented the Columbia recruiting station. Both educators have contact with thousands of Union County high school students every year.

During this four day event, educators were given a brief but thorough hands on introduction to Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC with a goal of teaching educators like Gray and Vickers that the Marine Corps can be an excellent career path for many young adults who are not ready for college. 

For recruiters in the Union County area, having the Educator's Workshop is a great way for them to interact with teachers like Vickers and Gray. Many families today may feel that all branches of our US military only impact students that are considered outcasts. Chief of Staff Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC, Col. Rich Grabowski said, “That’s simply not the case.” Grabowski who entered in 1975 said, “One percent Marines serve the greatest of their generation.” Today’s Marines have become very selective.

When Grabowski addressed educators at the beginning and end of the workshop, he made it clear that he did not need educators to be recruiters. Educators that attended were asked to simply direct interested students to local recruiters after asking them if they have talked with their parents first.

When arriving at Beaufort, SC, educators were briefed and issued camouflaged Gortex jackets, which repelled the cold and rain educators endured during their entire stay. Some days it was as cold as 38 degrees, and each morning started at 4:20 a.m., ended around 8:00 p.m. and involved educators being active participants every step of the way.

Memorable events during the four day workshop included: standing on the yellow footprints, marksmanship training, eating lunch with recruits, seeing an F/A-18 Hornet up close, physical training, obstacle courses, having a squad bay tour, pugil stick bouts, viewing drills and ceremonies, and experiencing very loud verbal directions and instructions. US Marine Corps Instructor Darosa was involved in daily operations with the Columbia recruiting station which Vickers and Gray were a part of.

The culminating base event of the Marine Corps Educator's Workshop at Parris Island involved observing a Recruit Graduation Ceremony. Family, friends, and fellow Marines were in attendance. Before graduation completed, six Marines were sworn in as American citizens from three different continents. When completed participants quickly rushed the new Marines and congratulated them in this giant step of their new life.

As a result of the Marine Corps Educator's Workshop held at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC, decision making and leadership skills were enhanced. “I walked away from this 4-days workshop with a much deeper understanding of the Marine Corp., a greater appreciation for what they do, and an amazing sense of pride to have been invited to participate in this event,” commented Gray. 

Search “Parris Island Marine Corps Educator's Workshop” on YouTube or Google for more information

Written by: Kevin Vickers, Media Coordinator at Sun Valley Elementary
Edited by: Regina Snelson
Posted: Mar 17, 2014 by Regina Snelson

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