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Pennsylvania educators learn how joining the Marines could change a student’s life

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C., — To enlist, begin work, or attend yet another school… “I think traditionally everyone should ...

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C., -- To enlist, begin work, or attend yet another school...

"I think traditionally everyone should go to college, but not everyone is equipped for college, or maybe it's just not the right time coming right from high school," said Lieutenant Netitia Walker, a Chaplain.

Lieutenant Netitia Walker is a chaplain for the United States Marine Corps at Parris Island.

Guiding recruits through 13 weeks of boot camp, she learns why many of them chose the marines.

"It's not uncommon to hear that they came because they were looking for sisterhood, brotherhood. They're looking for that family, that unity... to belong," said Lt. Walker.

A family, what many find with the Marine Corps... whether it's relying on each other throughout boot camp or bonding while being thousands of miles away of home.

"Just the discipline, the structure, the schedule. Everything about this place was an unbelievable experience," said Scott Govern.

Scott Govern is the Athletic Director at Hershey High School in Derry Township.

Traveling to Parris Island opened his eyes to the Marines.

"I didn't even know three-quarters of the information we got this week, and I don't believe our kids do either," stated Govern

Many recruits become better men and women throughout the 13 weeks of boot camp, learning a new way to walk, talk, and dress.

"My mind is blown," said Sharice Johnson.

Sharice Johnson is another educator from Derry Township, advocating for girls at Milton-Hershey School.

"My favorite part was talking to the female recruits, getting their take on their experiences here, and why they enlisted... and just the female empowerment," said Johnson.

Empowered: earning the title Marine could be one of the greatest accomplishments of a student's life.

"I'm able to take that back to Milton-Hershey school, encourage the girls to not be afraid, to not be limited, to find their purpose, and to just strive for their best," she said.

These educators receive a new perspective on the Marine Corps.

"Just the experience of being here and learning the education and actually going through the trainings and how they become marines... I have so much respect for them, so much respect," stated Johnson.

One they can take back to their respective schools.

After all, teachers are there to help students find the right path.

"There's kids that I know that are student athletes, and there's kids I pass in the hallway everyday, that I thought this would be beneficial to them and a great opportunity for them," said Govern.

Still, the biggest challenge may be convincing the people at home...

"Let your child find their purpose, let your child expand, trust that they know what's right for them," said Johnson.

Enlisting in the Marines may not be right for every student, but for the right students, it could be life changing.

To enlist, a person must be at least 17 years old, be a legal resident, pass a physical exam, and have earned a high school diploma.

There are educational opportunities and financial assistance available for Marines who want to pursue higher education.