PE students get a taste of the Marines

Posted on: May 10, 2018

PE students get a taste of the Marines

A few guest instructors put DHS physical education students through their paces on Wednesday, May 9, and helped build their confidence through a number of unique challenges.
 
Staff Sgt. Ronald Patron and Sgt. Frankie Vasquez of the Marine Corps set up a scaled down version of the same combat fitness test Marines must pass in basic training, and every year thereafter.
 
The test involves running, pushups and other exercises, and hoisting 30-pound ammunition boxes. Students also learned proper techniques for dragging a partner and doing the fireman’s carry. The class period closed with students running an obstacle course that incorporated each aspect of the exercises they had learned.
 
“They made it fun. It was different than any other workouts we’ve done in gym before,” said senior Nicole Gilliland.  
 
Sophomore Julia Peterson agreed. 
 
“It was pretty tough, but you feel good afterward,” she said.
 
Both girls were honored by the Marine instructors for their effort and attitude during the class, which DHS teacher Maria Menz was a focus.
 
“I watch for effort and participation, not necessarily how much weight they can lift or something like that,” Menz said. “It’s about attitude. Most people came in and saw the Marines and went, ‘Uh oh.’ They knew it was going to be hard. Some kids want to stop when they get uncomfortable, but sometimes you have to push through that to get better.”
 
Menz and several other Delano staff members went to San Diego to participate in Marine training last year, so she knew what she was asking of the students when the Marines returned the visit.
 
“The purpose is to provide them an opportunity to get a taste of what a true physical fitness test would be and to help them gain confidence, because once they’re able to achieve something like this they really have a feeling of accomplishment that they can do anything,” she said. “It isn’t to push the military, but just to give them a taste of that.”
 
Patron said the Marines occasionally run workouts for sports teams or other groups that want a change in their regular routines. 
 
“Sometimes when they hear what we’re about to do they think, ‘That’s impossible. I don’t want to do it.’ And then when they’re doing it they realize, ‘I can do this,’” he said. “That’s what we want to see. It builds confidence in them to do something they never thought they could.”
 
With varying levels of ability present, Vasquez said the workout at DHS was more about the process than the result.
 
“The workouts are hard, but for us it’s really about the fire in you, competitiveness, and the ability to push yourself past the breaking point,” he said. “That’s what we do. It’s all about effort. You get out of it what you put in.”
 
Menz pointed out that several students had already enlisted in the military, but Vasquez said signing up more students wasn’t necessarily the objective this week.
 
“We want to make sure we’re putting the right people in because the Marine Corps is so small you’re going to see those people again,” he said. “We’re always looking for quality, but we’re just here to inform everybody of their options. We never try to force anybody to join.”