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EHS staff participate in Marine Corps professional development

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.

Earlier this year, two Edina High School (EHS) teachers participated in a unique professional development opportunity. Claude Sigmund, social studies, and Sara Swenson, media specialist, attended the Marine Corps Educators Workshop at Camp Pendleton in California. They were invited by EHS alumni Sgt. Indiana Bloom.

“I don't believe teachers receive the recognition they deserve for their patience, understanding, and resiliency. As a leader of Marines, I've gained a greater appreciation for teachers in general and the tribulations they, at times, endure with their students,” Bloom wrote in his invitation.

Approximately 75 teachers attended the workshop, most from Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states. The workshop is offered free of charge to educators. During the week they got a taste of what it means to be a new recruit. The educators attended “boot camp” to experience the types of physical and psychological rigor Marines must possess. Along with a myriad of physical activities, Sigmund and Swenson attended multiple educational briefings focusing on the metamorphoses from recruit to Marine.

Sigmund and Swenson were impressed to learn what a strong focus the Marines place on citizenship and the work the Corps does in encouraging lifelong education. The stated mission of the Marine Corps is to “identify and prepare high quality men and women from across our nation to earn the title, ‘Marine’ so that we can: make Marines, win our nation’s battles, and return better citizens to society.” The week culminated with recruit graduation. “And of course, no visit to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot would be complete without a performance of the outstanding Marine Corps Band!” Swenson said.

As a successful Marine, Bloom now looks back on the support he received from EHS teachers like Swenson and Sigmund with gratitude. “I've had trouble getting through to my Marines at times in the past and I've found myself reminiscing about my days as a student and how complicated I made things!” he said. “Thank you for never giving up on me.”