MAKING MARINES: Recruits graduate boot camp and become United States Marines

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PARRIS ISLAND, SC. (WDBJ7) WDBJ7 has taken you along a journey this week with 30 Educators throughout Virginia to Parris Island, South Carolina. Giving you the chance to learn what it takes to be a United States Marine.

The final step is a reunion with family and the graduation ceremony.

The third day, educators went to graduation and there was not a dry eye in the stands.

WDBJ7 found a family from Virginia who was there to watch their son's fiancee graduate.

Their son graduated from boot camp in December and he was deploying to Japan that night for the next two years.

"Being a Marine is something I've always wanted back when I was little," Zachary Clatterbuck said.

Zachary Clatterbuck made the drive to Parris Island with his parents to see his new fiance graduate just five months after he did.

"Feeling pretty good. It's amazing to see her doing the same thing I am and her wanting the same thing," Clatterbuck said.

Being back on base, Zachary's mother is overwhelmed with pride.

"It's just um, a happy moment," Christina Clatterbuck said.

That moment when families see their son or daughter in full uniform making their way onto pavement for the graduation ceremony.

They didn't have a family member graduating, but even the educators got wrapped up in the experience.

"I didn't expect it to be as much as a emotional experience as it was. But after what we've been through, especially the obstacle course and how that brought all of us together, so we got a taste of that comrade and that rigger that they have to endure just at a much higher level," Virginia Educator Allen Crute said.

Educators say the drill instructors reminded them a lot of themselves -- as they really want the recruits to be successful just like teachers want their students to be.

"They are wanting to see each and every one of them finish. And they truly care about every single one of those recruits that's going through the system," Dan River High School Counselor Christopher Applegate said.

Dan River High School's Christopher Applegate says he plans on using his experience on Parris Island to help those kids who need direction.

"They are so used to a certain way of life and this gives them another avenue and it can take them so much further and can expand their world," Applegate said.

Educators and Marines agree, the corp is a group of men and woman working for a greater purpose.

After going through those 12 weeks of training or two days of a the educators workshop, they have an understanding of what those core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment really mean.

"It re-motivated me as a Marine. Made me go back to the fundamentals of why I am a Marine. And how it makes me feel to be able to wear the same uniform as the future Marines," Danville Recruiter Sergeant Keith Henley said.

That's why recruiters work so hard to find those high school students who want to serve and defend the United States of America.

"It's a passion you have to have. It's not something you can take lightly. Either you are in it or you are not. So for me to work with the kids and see that passion in them to better their lives. To take more advantage of what available to them. It means a lot to me to see that," Sergeant Henley said.