View Full Version : Educators Get A Feel For Marine Life

07-11-08, 05:56 AM
Educators Get A Feel For Marine Life

Posted: July 10, 2008 08:08 PM

Updated: July 10, 2008 09:38 PM

They serve on the front lines of education, and you trust them to give your child good advice about the future. But, what if that future included the Marines, especially with the country at war? News On 6 anchor Latoya Silmon reports some Oklahoma educators admit they don't know much about the military.

Dozens of Oklahoma educators traded in their books for boot camp. They deployed to San Diego for one week to learn more about the few, the proud, the Marines. Some thought it would be a great vacation too, but they soon learned they'd be put to work.

There was one moment when the 39 Oklahoma educators realized their vacation was over before it even started.

"You kinda step back and you're like oh wow. They're coming after us like we are recruits," said Blake Crawford.

"I was a little frightened at the beginning," added Chris Morgan.

Some were even offended.

"My first thought was you don't know who you're talking to. I was taken back a little bit. I mean I'm not used to that," said Sand Springs Assistant Principal Ernie Kothe.

As an assistant principal in Sand Springs, Ernie Kothe is used to giving orders, but this week he's learning how to be a grunt. The Marines hope it's a lesson he'll pass on to students.

"For these educators to come out here and see what we do as Marines, make Marines ,and the pride drill instructors and everyone takes in seeing them become successful is very beneficial to everyone," said Staff Sgt. Todd Jones.

Staff Sgt. Todd Jones is a Marine recruiter from Oklahoma City. Every year his office recruits 50 to 60 kids out of OKC. Like other recruiters, schools play a big role in his success. The Marine Corps knows that, so for the last 15 years its put on Educator's Workshops.

"A part of my being here at this educator's workshop is that the Marines make me nervous," said Melissa Feroli of Purcell.

That's a hurdle the Corps tries to combat by arming teachers with what it's like to be one of them, from a modified obstacle course to duking it out in hand to hand combat.

"It's definitely eye opening. I mean, cause you can watch all the Hollywood movies and hear from other people, but until you get in there, you're getting yelled at. I mean it's kind of a surreal experience," said Blake Crawford.

In just three days these Oklahoma educators are getting a chance to do something that takes recruits more than a month to do: shooting M-16s.

"This is nice being able to be here and tell them first-hand experience what they can get into," said Chris Morgan.

But, with the country at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I don't think you ever get over the fact of what's at stake," said Assistant Principal Ernie Kothe. "We have some investment in these kids and so we really think about that a lot."

But, after days of drills, thrills, and Marines 101, it's mission accomplished.

"I think I'll warn them about what I've seen, but I think it's a good thing," said Melissa Feroli.

Now this was just a four day glimpse into a 13 week process. And, it was very much the Marine's show. They paid for everyone's trip, including for The News On 6, and they set the schedule.