News: Drill instructors mentor Yulee High School students
Story by Cpl. Stanley Cao
YULEE, Fla. - The Hornets of Yulee High School had a rough encounter with Marine Corps drill instructors from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., during a Marine Corps Leadership Challenge July 12, at Yulee High School, Fla.
The challenge was designed to give students an eye-opening experience and put them through the paces of a daily routine for a Marine recruit.
Poolees and members of the Hornets football team gathered at the Yulee High School gymnasium on July 11, the night prior to the challenge for an introductory meeting. Unexpectedly, the next morning at 0600, received a personal wake-up call from the screams of drill instructors.
“We showed them firsthand what we do as drill instructors in recruit training”, said Sgt. Ashley Mohr, a Parris Island drill instructor. “We woke them up, got them on line, and gave them the basic rundown of what we expected of them.”
The students were taught basic Marine Corps customs and courtesies such as the proper greeting of the day and standing at the position of attention. They quickly realized that the drill instructors would not accept anything less than maximum effort at all times.
Shortly after stretching exercises, the students were separated into four squads led by Staff Sgt. Justin Perez, Staff Sgt. Gerald Hemry, Sgt. Ashley Mohr, and Sgt. Tiffany Nielsen-Nowakowski, all Parris Island drill instructors.
The drill instructors led their squad in a formation run around the school followed by a series of basic drill movements and squad exercises. Students ran through a series of circuit and squad competition workouts and the Marine Corps combat fitness test. These exercises were deliberately chosen by Staff Sgt. Joshua R. Clark, a recruiter at Permanent Contact Station Yulee, Recruiting Station Jacksonville, to incorporate teamwork and leadership.
“The students learned a lot about the Marine Corps and ultimately that they have to work as a team to be able to complete the mission,” said Clark.
Upon completion of the squad exercises, each squad sat down with their respective drill instructor and spoke about work ethic, teamwork, and leadership.
“They found out who they were, what they were capable of, and how far they could push their limits,” said Martin Berry, the head weightlifting and strength condition coach at Yulee High School. “I want my students to be able to have a sense of pride of completing the challenge because not everyone can do this, and also a sense of accomplishment.”