RALEIGH, N.C. --
The Marine Corps Leadership Seminar was held at the Wake County Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Raleigh, N.C., April 11.
The Marine Corps Leadership Seminar has been hosted by colleges and universities across the country for the past three years; however, this is the first time the event has been hosted at a high school.
“We are going to colleges and universities in an effort to guide top talent into the Marine Corps officer and enlisted programs,” said Ret. Col. Dr. Kenneth Dunn, the Marine Corps Leadership Seminar’s director. “The target audience is young men and in a lot of cases it might be better to reach that person before he reaches college.”
As a direct result of the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos’s planning guidance of 2010, the seminar focuses on schools with a diverse student body and teaches the students about Marine Corps leadership.
While the seminars have never been closed to high school students, this is the first time it has been specifically hosted at a high-school, an opportunity that principle Ian Coloman jumped at when given the chance.
“I have grown fond of blazing new trails,” said Coloman. “This was an opportunity to give the children exposure to the military and keeps with our traditions of teaching leadership. It was a natural fit.”
The seminar was taught by officer instructors with Officer Candidates School (OCS) and The Basic School (TBS), from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. They focused on education, decision making and values.
“I enjoyed working with them,” said Capt. Kyle Kurtz, an instructor with TBS. “It is great being able to influence young men and trying to be a positive impact on society. We have the opportunity to give them another example of successful decision making in life.”
The instructors did not just give the children classes, they broke them up into groups and gave them problems to solve as teams. One child would lead, and the others would follow and then critique at the end. It was very similar to how Marine Corps officers are trained at OCS and TBS.
“It was great to see that they were not over informative,” said JeVar Bransome, a science teacher with the school. “It was very inclusive and engaging and the students are very receptive to that.”
The children were asked to do things like pass ammo cans to one-another, except one student could not use his arms and the other had to wear a blind fold. They were asked to remember the layout of mines, in a notional mine-field, and then navigate their fellow students through it. While these tasks seem military specific, or even obscure, the quick decision making or memory skills necessary can be applied to everyday situations.
“A lot of what was taught today has a foundation in education,” said Coloman. “I am very excited to have had the Marines here. When you can be exposed to that level of vigor, in a mental capacity, you are better for it.”
Coloman and Bransome both expressed the pride that the students and faculty feel in being the first high school to host the seminar. This should not be the last time either.
“As we do with all colleges and universities, we look to have a lasting relationship with this school,” said Dunn. “I think we had tremendous success.”