Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island --
APPOMATTOX, Va. -- Nothing could prepare Stacy Purcell, a life coach and volunteer for young adults from Appomattox County, for the adrenaline rush she felt as she was rushed off of a bus by a Marine drill instructor shouting commands in rapid succession, before the sun had fully risen in the sky. She quickly grabbed her bags and stepped onto the famous painted yellow footprints in front of the welcoming center on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, August 6, 2021. As she waited for Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Evelyn Espinal’s next command, she noticed the front doors that would mark the beginning of an experience of a lifetime. The silver doors stood out from the rest of the brick building, and they shined bright even in the darkness of the early morning.
“Through these portals pass prospects for America’s finest fighting force – United States Marines” Those were the last words Purcell read on the building before being rushed through them by Staff Sgt. Espinal. Only two types of people ever go through those silver doors; a select few educators and recruits embarking on the transformation to becoming a United States Marine. Chaos ensued as multiple drill instructors yelled commands and instructed her to execute each command faster and with more precision.
Every year, all over the nation, local Marine recruiting stations select a limited number of high school educators, coaches, principals, and media personnel to participate in Educators’ Workshop. This three-day workshop is fully funded by the Marine Corps and gives the participants the opportunity to travel to Parris Island, South Carolina to get a taste of the challenges, training, and knowledge that it takes to make United States Marines.
For Purcell, this experience was more than just a workshop. She was selected to be a part of the workshop months prior and set out a goal for herself to fully embrace the experience as best as she could.
“I set out a goal to lose weight before the workshop, I began exercising and dieting. I lost over 65 pounds before the workshop so I could be in my best shape and feel good while being there. I wanted to be able to do all of the physical activities,” explained Purcell.
“I wanted to try it all. And I did! I wanted to be able to run, do pushups, and experience it all. It felt great to be able to climb the rope wall. I was the first person to volunteer to climb it. It felt amazing,” recalled Purcell of her experience conducting physical training at the workshop.
Many participants have no idea what to expect during the workshop, and the days are packed with activities, from participating in the confidence course to learning about the Marine Corps’ history and traditions in a classroom setting. By the end of the workshop, each attendee will know more about the discipline and structure that it takes to mold and shape the future Marines of this nation.
“The transformation from recruit to Marine is beyond an amazing experience. To see their appearance, physical physique, and overall demeanor change is truly amazing. To witness family day and see the pride, and courage they [Marines] have is truly something you have to witness. It will move you,” Purcell explained as she recalled her experience during family day on Parris Island.
This unique opportunity gives back to educators like Purcell, who make an impact in the lives of children and young adults every day. She said she is committed to sharing her newly gained knowledge and information about the Marine Corps with anyone interested in enlisting in the military as their next step in life.
“This experience was one of the best experiences I have ever had. [I]n our ever changing world, I believe that this would be the best choice to make; to become a United States Marine.”
If you are interested in attending or getting more information on the next Educators’ Workshop, contact your local Marine Corps recruiting office and apply today.