Five Livingston Parish teachers had the chance to go through Marine Corps basic training this month — including learning to accurately shoot an M16 rifle and tackling a grueling obstacle course.
The teachers participated in an educator’s workshop to both experience the training themselves and learn more about the lifestyle, job skills, service opportunities and educational benefits afforded to military recruits. According to the program’s instructors, the goal is to better understand a new recruit’s experience to better inform students who consider signing up for the military.
Literacy and Technology Center Assistant Principal Nikki Lavergne, Walker High School teacher Jessica Wagner, coaches Rob Chapman and Doug Dotson, and Denham Springs High School teacher Maria Ryan traveled to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina, for the workshop.
“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” Wagner said. “We had a chance to see firsthand what recruits go through, from getting off the bus to being addressed by the drill instructors in command.”
Drill instructors led the workshop, giving the teachers the same speech new recruits hear when they arrive at the base. The teachers were given time to ask questions through the process.
In addition to the “condensed version” of the basic training process, the program is designed to promote recruitment, according to Staff Sgt. Devin Kennett, a senior drill instructor at MCRD Parris Island.
“They’re able to take that back to their students and actually give them resources or tips and tricks that can help prepare them,” he said.
The teachers also participated in the new recruits’ capstone field training exercise, an experience meant to test critical thinking as a team undergoes various scenarios, according to Sgt. Danielle Prentice of the 6th Marine Corps District.
Further, the teachers received several classroom-style periods of instruction about family readiness, tuition assistance and other programs the Marine Corps provides to Marines and their families.
“I wish someone would have taken the time to show me all the possibilities that exist for recruits when I was younger,” Wagner said. “It could have been life-changing.”
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