View Full Version : Griffith recounts USMC trip

02-10-09, 09:25 AM
Griffith recounts USMC trip
Daimon Duggar, Staff Writer 10.FEB.09

Last month, Marion County Director of Schools Mark Griffith was invited by the United States Marine Corps to attend their Educator Workshop at their training facility on Parris Island, S.C.

The purpose of the workshop was to inform educators about career opportunities available to those in the military so that they can more effectively guide students who might be interested in pursuing the military lifestyle.

“Basically we went through a warm and fuzzy boot camp process,” said Griffith.

According to a USMC press release, the Corps hosts approximately 12 of these workshops annually. The three-day event is considered to be “the most valuable support program in the Corps’ recruiting arsenal.”

The stated purpose of these events is to expose educators to a side of military life with which they may not be familiar, namely recruit training, educational and job opportunities. In addition, the Corps emphasizes the workshop’s role in dispelling negative stereotypes sometimes held against military service.

“They enlightened us as to how a military lifestyle could benefit a number of students across our county and the United States,” said Griffith. “They really focused on the educational aspect but we got to see curriculum, the physical aspect including obstacle courses and we spoke with the commanding officers over each phase of Marine Corps training.”

Including bachelors’ degree programs, the Corps also offers distance learning courses said Griffith.

The “cohort group,” which included two superintendents and a number of principals, also had the opportunity to talk with recruits on their 44th day, a sort of half-way point of their 70-day training.

“They spoke with us about their experiences and how they tried to adjust to the lifestyle. Some were at-risk kids, others were shy and timid and they told us how the Corps had helped them to overcome their problems,” said Griffith.

According to a Corps press release, this interaction allows the educators to get to know the Marines on a personal level who often times are only a few years older than their students. It also affords them the opportunity to hear straight from the Marines themselves what the Marine Corps lifestyle is like.

The most interesting aspect of the workshop was seeing the transformation of the recruits, said Griffith.

“We saw them come at day one and graduate on the 70th day,” he said, “The transformation from a recruit into a young marine is very interesting.”

Previously, Griffith attributed his selection for the workshop to the Department of Defense’s consideration of adding a Naval Junior Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) program to the Marion County school system.

The trip was funded entirely by the USMC.