Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island --
For four days, high school educators are given the unique opportunity to experience Marine Corps recruit training firsthand. They attend Educators Workshop (EWS) - a program that takes place at either Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island or Recruit Depot San Diego. EWS enables educators to better inform their students and communities about Marine Corps career opportunities.
“EWS is essentially a crash course in the day in the life of a recruit,” said Capt. John Martin, the executive officer of Recruiting Station (RS) Nashville. “It’s 13 weeks condensed into about four days.”
Educators from RS Richmond and RS Nashville attended EWS Feb. 1-4, 2022, and educators from RS Lansing and RS Columbus attended Feb. 8-11. The workshops took place at Recruit Depot Parris Island.
Each day of EWS showcased different aspects of recruit training. Events included were meeting drill instructors, a squad bay tour, eating chow with recruits, shooting an M-16A4 service rifle, taking part in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, visiting Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, and observing the graduation of the new Marines. Classes were also held to inform educators on Marine Corps career and service opportunities and educational benefits.
The educators began their recruit experience just as recruits do – by standing on the yellow footprints in formation after the flurry of drill instructors yell at them to get off the bus.
“I had goosebumps standing on those yellow footprints,” said Ryan Schwieterman, the vice principal and head boys tennis coach of Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio. “Knowing how many people go through as recruits and leave as Marines. Knowing how many people have stood where I stood. It was impactful.”
Educator’s Workshop is crucial in breaking stereotypes many civilians often hold of the Marine Corps. In observing recruit training and learning of the numerous possibilities of a Marine, their understanding of the Marine Corps is expanded.
“I think the thing I learned the most is the variety of jobs available in the Marine Corps that are not combat-related,” said Schwieterman. “My initial view was that as a Marine, you’re going to be first in the line of defense. Then I heard about all the different military occupational specialties. You could be a photographer. You could be in communications. There’s so many different opportunities.”
Brittany Gunderson, the cheer coach of Gaylord High School in Gaylord, Michigan, shared how EWS shaped her view of females in the Marine Corps.
“I thought it was amazing that there were women in leadership at Parris Island,” she said. “Because when people think of the Marine Corps, they usually think of the men, and how it’s male dominated. But there’s so many women that have an integral part in it.”
Although EWS only lasts four days, the impact is long-lasting. From rising early in the morning, to being fully immersed in activities and hands-on experiences all day, the memories are ones the educators will always be able to share.
“It was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had,” said Gunderson. “And I’ve traveled a lot and done a lot in general. But that was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had. And I feel like if I can touch even a handful of kids with that information, it will have been worth it.”
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/