LPPS Educators Learn At Marine Corps

Livingston Parish Educators Learn What It Takes to Be Among The Few, The Proud
Posted on 02/04/2022
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Livingston Parish Educators Learn What It Takes to Be Among The Few, The Proud
Marine Corps Workshop Brings Awareness to Opportunities for Recruits

LIVINGSTON, La. – Completing a physically challenging obstacle course or accurately shooting a M16 rifle may not be required skills in their job descriptions with Livingston Parish Public Schools, but five local educators were faced with those tasks earlier this month when they were selected to participate in a Marine Corps Educators Workshop.

Literacy and Technology Center Assistant Principal Nikki Lavergne, Walker High School Teacher Jessica Wagner and coaches Rob Chapman and Doug Dotson, and Denham Springs High School Teacher Maria Ryan travelled to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in Parris Island, South Carolina, Jan. 11-14, to experience the basic training process first-hand.

The Marine Corps Recruit Training Regiment provided drill instructors to escort the workshop in the same manner as recruits in training. Drill instructors also presented the same receiving speech recruits go through when they arrive at the base.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” Wagner said. “We had a chance to see firsthand what recruits go through, from getting off the bus to being addressed by the drill instructors in command. It was very interesting.”

Staff Sgt. Devin Kennett, a senior drill instructor at MCRD Parris Island and an Educators Workshop escort, iterated the benefits of the workshop: “One, it gives them first-hand knowledge of the recruit training process. It is a condensed version where they get the basis of what we do with the recruits from processing all the way through to the training they go through. So, they’re able to take that back to their students and actually give them resources or tips and tricks that can help prepare them. Two, it gets the word out about the Marine Corps and about what we have to offer. There are a lot of kids out there that see the Marine Corps as just a warfighting organization, which we are, but there are a lot of other opportunities out there that the Marine Corps can facilitate for them.”

Kennett noted that the educator attendees were presented with a variety of simulations of some situations the young men and women endure when they arrive at the recruit depot. They were given time to ask questions throughout the process.

“I have a son in middle school who is expressing an interest in a military career, so I had a very personal interest in knowing more,” Lavergne said. “I will say that I am much less apprehensive, and I am impressed with the many opportunities that exist with the Marine Corps.”

“I would certainly tell my students to not dismiss the military as an option. Do your research and find out what’s out there, because there is a lot to choose from,” she said.

Wagner added, “I wish someone would have taken the time to show me all the possibilities that exist for recruits when I was younger. It could have been life changing.”

As part of the workshop, educators participated in the tour of the Crucible, which is the recruits’ capstone field training exercise where they attempt obstacles at the Leadership Reaction Course.

“This experience showed them how the recruits’ ability to critically think as a team is tested in various scenarios over one portion of the 54-hour training event,” Sgt. Danielle Prentice of the 6th Marine Corps District said. She noted that the educators were also provided several classroom-style periods of instruction where they were taught about the family readiness, tuition assistance, and many other programs and opportunities the Marine Corps provides to Marines and their families.

“Marine Corps Recruiting Command provides Educators Workshops as an opportunity for teachers, principals, counselors, coaches, and media to experience the basic training process first-hand. The workshops provide attendees with current information regarding Marine Corps training practices, military job skills, service opportunities, military lifestyle, and educational benefits available to Marines,” Prentice added.

The USMC promotional website says the program is designed to demystify recruit and officer candidate training, foster stronger relationships among recruiting personnel and the communities they serve, and increase advocacy among influencers who help shape decisions of young men and women.

Jessica Wagner, an Advanced Placement Computer Science and English teacher at Walker High School, fires an M16A4 rifle on Jan. 12 during the Educators Workshop at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina. (Photo provided by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Danielle Prentice)
Jessica Wagner, an Advanced Placement Computer Science and English teacher at Walker High School, fires an M16A4 rifle on Jan. 12 during the Educators Workshop at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina. (Photo provided by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Danielle Prentice)


Jessica Wagner, an English II and Cyber Society teacher at Walker High School, attempts a mission simulation with her team at the Leadership Reaction Course on Jan. 12 during the Educators Workshop at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina.Jessica Wagner, an English II and Cyber Society teacher at Walker High School, attempts a mission simulation with her team at the Leadership Reaction Course on Jan. 12 during the Educators Workshop at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina.