Now Serving In Uniform, Teacher Seeks To Inspire | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Now Serving In Uniform, Teacher Seeks To Inspire

Play associated audio

Darryl St. George has served his country both in and out of uniform. He left his high school teaching job on Long Island in 2010 to become a Navy corpsman, a medic for the Marines.

"I loved teaching. It was a great job, but I felt like something was missing. I kind of — I felt compelled to serve," he told NPR's Tom Bowman in July.

At the time, he was at a dusty combat outpost in southern Afghanistan. St. George had one month left in his deployment and said that when he came home, he planned to visit the school where he had taught.

Earlier in October, he kept that promise, going back to Northport High School. He saw other teachers and got something of a hero's welcome.

When he had just quit his job to sign up to serve a year ago, St. George says, many teachers seemed angry.

"My first reaction was, 'Why? Why would you do this? ... You're making such a difference here,'" fellow social studies teacher Jim DeRosa says. "I was very worried he was going to be hurt."

St. George came back safely, and he wanted to talk to the students about what he had learned and why he had served.

Northport students were barely tots when the twin towers were attacked — Sept. 11, 2001, is a history lesson. When St. George saw those towers burn, he felt a personal obligation to serve, and he wanted the students to understand that.

In a speech at the school, he told the students they have to care.

"What do you care about most? What moves you? What inspires you? Ask that question, and again, you don't need to know the answer," St. George said. "The important thing is that you're asking the question, and you're actively going out there and making a difference — in some way. It doesn't have to be in uniform."

Did St. George reach them with that lesson for which he had risked his life? That could remain unknown for years. Many students may be unmoved, but a few might remember his words for the rest of their lives.

St. George is back now with his unit at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

He plans to teach again, but that's three years off. Next year, he could be sent anywhere, including back to Afghanistan.

"Who knows what will happen in Afghanistan in a year's time?" he says. "When people ask me, I'm intentionally vague because I don't know myself."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'13 Days' Of High Emotion That Led To The Egypt-Israel Peace

Lawrence Wright's new book examines the 1978 peace deal President Carter brokered between Egypt and Israel. During the tense summit, Carter had "never been angrier," Wright says.
NPR

A Scientist's Journey From Beer To Microbiology To Bourbon-Making

When his home-brew tasted bad, a college student decided to pursue microbiology. After more than a decade as a scientist, he's going back to brewing — but this time, he's moving up to bourbon.
NPR

Dempsey Says If Needed He Would Recommend Ground Forces In Iraq

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Senate panel he supports the president's plan to combat Islamic State militants but that if it proved necessary, he would recommend U.S. ground forces.
NPR

Minecraft's Business Model: A Video Game That Leaves You Alone

Microsoft is buying the company that created the video game Minecraft, which has a loyal following in part because of the freedom it allows players — including freedom from pressure to buy add-ons.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.