Londonderry student returns as a Marine
Marine Pfc. Matthew Cabezas, a 2012 graduate of Londonderry High School, returned to his former elementary school for a visit with curious fourth- graders Tuesday afternoon. The Londonderry native credits his former teachers with always encouraging him to pursue his goals, even though he never wanted to go to college. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)
So it came as no surprise when the staff at the local elementary school got word that Cabezas had enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.
During a 45-minute visit, the Londonderry native offered youngsters a sneak peak at military life.
“My teachers would agree, I was always interested in the service, in the military,” he said.
Though an honors student and accomplished athlete, Cabezas said he always knew the college path wasn’t in the cards for him.
Currier, a member of the LHS Class of 2010, died at the age of 21 during a military operation while serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in February 2010.
By July 2012, just barely a month out of high school, Cabezas, who was two years younger than Currier, was on his way to basic training at Parris Island, S.C.
“At first it seems like everyone’s just yelling at you, that they were being mean,” Cabezas said. “But when you finish your training and they put that pin on you, they’re smiling at you. You feel really proud, like you’ve really accomplished something.”
The children were delighted to also learn how often Marines polish their shoes (pretty much constantly), that male Marines in training are kept separate from female Marines in training, and that if the young men wish to enlist, yes, they will need to have their entire head shaved.
Cabezas, whose military job is radio operator, arrived back in Londonderry earlier this spring, after completing his most recent training at Camp Pendleton on the Southern California coast.
“Out of nine months, I saw my mother just 10 days,” he told the children. “Yes, it was hard.”
“I came home so much more organized,” Cabezas said. “The Marines taught me to only accept the best for myself.”
“Hey, you weren’t so bad to begin with,” teacher Deanna Poulin told him.
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