When Marine recruiters come to the school, counselors can pass along information they learn through the educator's workshops to the students, but they really don't know how to answer many of their questions. At Girard High School, that is about to change.
High School guidance counselor Pete Simpson saw first-hand what a potential Marine recruit will be going through during their 12-week basic training course at Parris Island, S.C.
''We (guidance counselors) know a great deal about college,'' Simpson said, ''but little about the military.
Girard High School guidance counselor Pete Simpson poses with drill instructor Staff Sgt. Suarez during his week of basic training with the Marines at Parris Island, S.C.
Now I can tell students first-hand what to expect,'' he said.
Simpson was chosen to be one of 12 educators a year to take part in a program that allowed counselors to spend a week with the U.S. Marine Corps. Some are assigned to the west coast and some to Parris Island in South Carolina, Simpson said. After four-years of trying to get into the program, Simpson was finally able to go in January, he said.
During his week-long training period, Simpson was able to experience some of what the recruits go through, including getting up very early in the morning, standing in the chow line and being in formation for parts of the day. He also took part in the ISMT M16 simulator, M16 live fire on the firing range, obstacle course events and pugel stick combat.
Simpson also was able to see the end product of the training and education with a visit to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C., where he witnessed young men and women being responsible for the maintenance of F18 fighter jets.
''I learned that I can not just be an education, but I can be a leader too,'' Simpson said of his experience. ''The training gives you a sense of what you're doing and that you can do more,'' he said.
On a professional level, Simpson said the experience has enabled him to better serve the students in Girard. As well as answering students' questions on an individual basis, counselors will meet with parents during financial aid night and can answer their questions as well, he said.
''As far as tuition assistance from the post 9/11 GI Bill, we knew it, but not well,'' he said.
Simpson also thanked Girard Superintendent Joseph Jeswald, and as the Board of Education for the opportunity to attend the program, as well as the Marine Corps. for the invitation.
''It has truly changed my outlook on life for the better and made me appreciate what we have as a nation,'' he said.