Lot of kids think their principal is tough. The students at Somerset High School, however, have proof.
Wes Cornett, principal at SHS, recently completed a visit to the Marine Corps Educators Workshop, a grueling taste of what it’s like to be in boot camp for arguably the most hardcore branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“They put you through 13 weeks of boot camp in three days,” said Cornett, who’s helmed in the principal’s chair at SHS since June of 2011. “They wanted to make it as real as they can. ... It’s a wake-up call for a lot of people who have not been around that kind of stuff.”
Earlier this month, Cornett arrived in Savannah, Ga., then stayed the night and was bused in to Parris Island, the well-known Marine Corps installation in South Carolina. Cornett was up by 4:15 a.m. each day, eating breakfast and then on to the day’s business simulating what actual recruits go through during the camp experience — in formation at 5:30 a.m.
Cornett, a former football player at Lincoln County High School, actually wasn’t too fazed — his old high school coach had been a military man, and brought that type of mentality to practice. Still, Cornett couldn’t help one major impression being left on him: lots and lots of yelling.
“They (the drill sergeants) came out and did us as they did the recruits, screaming at us to get in formation,” said Cornett of his first experiences at the camp, one of 84 educators coming out from either Louisville or Cleveland. “It’s a little bit of intimidation (but) they’re trying to prepare us. Some people in the past have had a hard time with that. ... I was used to that as a motivating tool.”
The trip also provided a perfect example of gender equality. Cornett’s trip — an opportunity for school leadership training he heard about from school counselor Julie Morgan and recommended by Superintendent Boyd Randolph — took place just a couple of weeks before the U.S. lifted the ban on women in combat.