VSHS teachers Kelly Steffen, left, and Heather Kalous, are pictured with DIs when they attended the Marines educators event in 2011. Two more VS teachers are going next week.

When the current class of recruits finishes its grueling final week of training on the course called “The Crucible” and celebrates the day its members can first call themselves “Marines,” two Vinton-Shellsburg teachers will be there.
Associate Principal Tony Islas and Family Consumer Science teacher Annalise Duffy will spend next week at Camp Pendleton, near San Diego. They will be among approximately 80 educators from several states who will spend a few days getting an idea of the challenges and triumphs facing those in Basic Training.
“Educators are greeted at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego by our illustrious Drill Instructors and made to stand on the same historical yellow footprints every Marine has stood upon before entry into recruit training. Visitors will receive a welcome brief from the Commanding General of the Depot, eat with recruits in training, receive Marine Corps Martial Arts training and run our rugged bayonet assault course,” says the Marine Corps web site.
Both Duffy and Islas says they are very much looking forward to the event and are planning to document their visit with journals, photos and/or videos.
Six years ago, VSHS teachers Heather Kalous and Kelly Steffen participated in the program.
“They have us on the field where the recruits were in formation getting ready to receive their Anchor/Globe/Eagle medallion after surviving the crucible. That is when the become known as “Marines. It’s so emotional,” Steffen recalls.
As a family member of military personnel, Steffen says she has heard about basic training and its rigors and intimidating drill instructors from relatives, but the week at Camp Pendleton helped her understand the experience from a DI’s point of view.
“We, as teachers, are trying to prepare students for the challenges of life,” says Steffen. “But they are preparing soldiers for the perils of war.”
The U.S. Government pays all expenses of the program, including transportation and lodging in hotels near the base. Its purpose is to help educators understand more what happens during basic training so they can help high school students considering a military enlistment make better-informed choices.

See the complete schedule from the 12th Marines Corps web site HERE.