From U.S. Marine to Apex High School Teacher
Have you ever thought about serving in the military after high school or want to know more about it? I sat down with Apex High School’s very own Coach Little and asked him some questions about his experiences serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years before becoming a P.E. teacher and wrestling coach at Apex. Check it out!
Q: What were some of the most memorable moments you had serving, and what was your favorite part?
A: My most memorable moment was getting through basic training because it was very mentally and physically challenging, especially since I was so young. The pride, the accomplishment, and the self-worth I felt after that was incredibly fulfilling and something I will never forget. My favorite part had to be traveling and meeting new people, and experiencing things I never would have had the opportunity to if I wasn’t involved in the marines.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced?
A: Being an eighteen year old kid and having so much responsibility put on me was definitely a huge challenge. I was forced to grow up quickly because I was on my own right out of high school, so I had to provide for myself. Also I had never been very far away from my home, and I had to adjust to a completely new lifestyle and independent living away from my parents while going through basic training.
Q: What valuable lessons did you learn?
A: Overall discipline, a sense of self-worth, and learning to never give up. I learned that I could achieve almost anything if I had the right mindset and was disciplined enough, which I still apply to many situations in my life today. Serving in the marines set me on a good path for the future because I learned a lot about myself and how to overcome adversity.
Q: What are some similarities and differences between serving as a marine and working at a high school?
A: Not much is similar to be quite honest. However, while I was serving, I got the chance to work with younger and less experienced Marines and train them, which relates to teaching because you have a similar chain of command, and you must be a leader. But in terms of coaching, a lot is similar. I teach my athletes the same lessons I learned while serving, and I try to emphasize that without discipline and hard work you won’t be successful.
Q: What was the transition like from being a marine to a high school teacher and coach?
A: After serving I actually went to college for four years before becoming a teacher, and the transition to college was pretty smooth. A lot of the lessons and characteristics I learned while serving carried over to college because I was a student and a wrestler, so I was able to be successful. Looking back I think transitioning from serving to teaching and coaching would have been much more challenging and definitely would have taken some adjusting.
Q: What is some advice you would give to students looking to serve in the Marines or any branch of military after high school?
A: Ask yourself if this is something you really want to do, and research every branch of service to learn what opportunity would be best for you. Don’t join the military suddenly without giving it much thought because you’re pretty much stuck there for four years. There are certainly ways of getting out, but it doesn’t look good on your record. Just make sure you know what you are getting into and are prepared to face some challenges.
Thank you to Coach Little for sharing his experiences and memories and for his incredible service to our country.