MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Every year, Lejeune High School graduates begin down the path of discovering what they are going to do with their lives. Some go to colleges and universities, some begin working on their career, some travel and some join the military. However, in every class, a few of the graduates stay in the Onslow County area and begin contributing to the local community.
For some, attending school at Lejeune High School inspired them to become an educator themselves and even work at the school. One such person is Eric Steinmel who worked at Lejeune High School for 17 years and is currently the principal at Brewster Middle School.
Steinmel has been an educator since 1984. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1984 and went onto teach several science classes at Lejeune High School until becoming the assistant principal of the high school in 1992. Then in 2001, he became the principal of Brewster Middle School.
“The school was a lot larger back then and it was in [what is now] the education center for adults,” Steinmel said. “We had a strong reputation and a neat military community. We took care of each other.”
“When I was a student at Lejeune High School, I enjoyed school so much and liked being with young people that I got a degree in biology and got a job at the high school,” Steinmel said. “I stayed here because I like the community, my job and the excellent hunting and fishing.”
Lisa Beavers is another Lejeune High School alumni that became an educator. She is the health education and sports science teacher at the school and has spent 10 years contributing to the community through her teaching.
Beavers graduated in 1988 from Lejeune High School and got a degree to become a health education teacher from Eastern Carolina University.
She became a teacher because of her experience at the school and because her teachers made teaching look fun and interesting. Another reason is because of the close knit school community, according to Beaver.
“The base had its own community and there was nothing else for the (children) to do except stuff that was on base, so it really bonded the community together and it bonded the school together,” Beaver said.
The supportive school community is also why she helps to organize the school reunion every five years.
“It’s like a family reunion,” Beaver said. “When we had the last one, you had people from the classes graduating in the 40’s and 50’s which makes it more exciting and interesting.”
There are also alumni who have contributed to the local community through their service in the Marine Corps. Sergeant Major Robert G. VanOostrom the sergeant major for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station New River, and has dedicated 20 years of service to the Marine Corps.
“The small school was very beneficial because there was a smaller student to teacher ratio,” VanOostrom said. “The reunion is always great. It’s a good chance to meet old friends and everyone.”
The Lejeune High School maybe just another school for some people but for some people it was the inspiration to stay and give back to the local community.