Three Jenkins High School staff members got to see firsthand what Marine recruits go through during boot camp at a week-long Educators Workshop Jan. 16-20, 2012.
Jenkins High School staff members Lonnie Hoxie, Vanessa Bigler, and Mark Burnell were three of 75 educators from the northwest to attend the all-expense paid trip at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.
The Educators Workshop is set up during a time when there are various recruit classes in different stages of their three-month long training, from their arrival to graduation day, which gives the visiting educators a wealth of information about the entire Marine experience in just one week’s time.
“I was shocked, amazed, and impressed with what those young kids go through,” said Lonnie Hoxie, JHS vice principal and athletic director.
Hoxie said they all had the opportunity to participate in many activities similar to what the recruits experience during their time in San Diego. He said he volunteered to do all he could to get the best experience possible.
Some things included the Combat Fitness Test, simulations of what it is like to be under fire, trying on the actual uniforms and gear, getting yelled at by drill sergeants, and firing military rifles.
JHS counseling secretary Vanessa Bigler said even though they really experienced all those things, they never felt pressured to do any of it and the Marines created a welcoming environment where they were able to ask questions at any time.
The whole week was very well organized and educational, Bigler said, and they were all impressed by how busy they were as each day included a fully planned schedule of activities.
“Each night we would get back exhausted after only doing one-hundredth of what they do there,” she said.
The educators also got to experience things that even parents do not get to see such as the recruits’ return from the final test, the Crucible, which Bigler said was her favorite part of the entire week. It is when they arrive back at the Depot after a grueling field training exercise and are first called Marines.
“It was very emotional and very moving,” she said.
One of the major reasons for the workshop is to help disprove misconceptions about the Marines and inform educators so they can better communicate the Marine experience to their students.
“It’s these teachers and counselors that influence the next generation of Marines,” said Capt. Alan Sung, assistant operations officer, Western Recruiting Region. “If we can show them what the Marine Corps is about, they can speak intelligently about the Marine Corps when mentoring students. The key here is accuracy.”
Hoxie said he is much more comfortable answering students’ questions now that he has experienced so much of it firsthand.
“I feel like I know what a recruit is going to do down there,” he said.
Since attending the Educators Workshop, Bigler said two JHS students have signed with the Marines and one with the Navy.
Although she never had a preconception about what the Marines were like, Bigler said she would now suggest it as a route for anyone to explore.
“They are changed boys, grown up, more mature and responsible,” Bigler said. “It’s a night and day transformation.”
Recruiters had contacted the JHS counseling office to encourage people to apply and all three who applied were accepted into the competitive program. This was the first year that anyone from Chewelah has participated in the Educators Workshop, even though it has existed for 10 years.
Hoxie said they are now looking into participating in similar programs by the other branches of the military because they had such an enriching experience with the Marines.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: Lonnie Hoxie, JHS vice principal and athletic director, prepares to rush to his next obstacle after low crawling through a series of tunnels during the bayonet assault course for the educators workshop aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., Jan. 17. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jennifer B. Poole)