The Marine Math and Science Academy, one of the Chicago Public Schools military academies, welcomed Col. Matthew Bonnot, the commanding officer of the 9th Marine Corps District, as the principal for a day Oct. 21.
Throughout the day the commander interacted with the battalion staff made up of the school's cadets, the commandant of the school and other faculty members to ensure the day-to-day operations of the school were completed -- just as any commanding officer would.
Sitting at the head of the table, Bonnot received a brief of the school's current status including the day's attendance, accomplishments, key issues and the unit goals of the school.
As each section briefed their status, Bonnot asked key questions to ensure the cadets understood how a staff works in the Marine Corps.
Lt. Col. Michael Stewart, the commandant of the school, oversees the academy's JROTC program as well as the academic success of the students. He and his team of military instructors work not only to train the students in a military fashion, but also to teach the more than 350 cadets.
During the school day students attend their regularly scheduled academic classes and various JROTC classes that educate them about the military. Most classes are taught by certified educators; however, the military instructors insure each cadet follows the rules and regulation of the of the academy.
The students also have the opportunity to compete in the school's athletic teams as well as drill and many other extracurricular activities. This year will be the first graduating class of the academy.
Having a Marine principal for a day is nothing strange to the academy.
"We want the cadets to see as many successful people as possible," said Stewart. "We love to show Marines what we are doing here."
As Bonnot received the morning staff brief, he interacted with the young cadets, providing guidance and instruction.
As the day wound down, Bonnot toured the facility, inspecting the gym, supply area and cafeteria, after a brief lunch with the students, he turned the school back over to Stewart.
The Leadership Experience you are getting in this high school is not normally afforded to many students," said Bonnot.