Say you’re a high school senior, and you want to be a Marine. Information about the Corps is difficult to find in your school. Your friends aren’t planning to enlist, nobody in your family has been a servicemember and you don’t know the local recruiter. Who do you talk to? What do you do?
Recruiters who send principals, guidance counselors and teachers to the Educators Workshop help themselves by improving valuable awareness among high school and junior college students. These teachers can help students who have a difficult time finding information about the Marines.
“The Educators Workshop is a chance for educators to get a glimpse of the Marine Corps from the inside,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas L. Coyle, Recruiting Substation St. Peters.
Coyle, Recruiting Station St. Louis’ 2004 Recruiter of the Year, escorted 38 attendees to the workshop March 7 – 11. He said schools who send teachers are more forthcoming with the recruiting effort, and more willing to allow the Marines access to the school or help obtain transcripts.
“Educators are more likely to send an interested student our way than (to) another branch of the military,” he said. “They can see the difference between being a Marine and being something else.”
Coyle said one of the benefits of the workshop is the relationships built between recruiters and educators.
Steven E. Horrell, physical education teacher at Macomb Senior High School in Macomb, Ill., was one of the 38 educators who attended RS St. Louis' March workshop. On the five-day tour, Horrell said he learned enough to set students on the right path.
“It was an opportunity to see exactly what the young men and women go through once they leave here,” he said.
While teaching, Horrell said he listened to recruiters at the school talk about the Marine Corps. He also learned from former students and wrestlers who were fresh from boot camp who talked about their experiences, but he said he was still not able to relate with the Marines. The workshop helped him place the military experience into context.
“It gave me a better view of what the young men go through and how they transform over the 12 weeks they’re in basic training,” Horrell said. “We saw the transformation from a civilian to a Marine.”
One former student, Pvt. Marshall S. Sheldon, had been on Horrell’s wrestling squad. After attending the workshop, Horrell was able to relate Sheldon’s experiences to the former student’s parents and family members.
When Sheldon's parents received a letter from their son after he fell ill with pneumonia during recruit training, Horrell was able to “translate.” The coach was able to explain to Sheldon’s parents that not every recruit who became ill was sent to the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon, and Sheldon would probably complete basic training with his original company.
“My parents assumed the worst,” said Sheldon. “My mom was pretty worried, but Coach was able to give them an idea of what I was doing.”
Most Marines know the program works well, but few have seen results like Master Sgt. Ed A. Minton, recruiter instructor, RS St. Louis. In almost 20 years of recruiting, Minton has never attended an Educators Workshop, but says he knows the program’s results well.
“The Educators Workshop helps in more areas than most recruiters realize,” said Minton. “Once (educators) go there and see these young men living well and becoming good citizens, they begin to see what the Marine Corps is all about.”
Minton said the workshop shows educators why Marines are looking for quality applicants at their schools.
“After the Educators Workshop, they see a recruiter as a tool for a kid’s success."