A different path

Education was always in the cards for Thompson


Ivory Sanders

Lt. Col. David Thompson teaches a MJROTC class during first period recently. Thompson plans on retiring after next school year.

Denise Gimlich, online editor

Of the people who have come to this school, Lieutenant Colonel Thompson had a different path than most.

Thompson started his path to education in the Chicago suburbs teaching elementary school education before the school closed. He then worked in sales for about a year before deciding to join the Marine Corps.

Thompson went through the Officer Selection Process and attended Officer Candidate School in the summer of 1979.

“That if you asked me in my junior year of college if I planned to join the military, I’d probably said don’t think so because that was not on my radar at the time,”  Lieutenant Colonel Thompson said. “So as late as my junior year of college when I was 20 to 21, I didn’t know that was my path and it turned out to be my path for the next 20 years.”

Pullquote Photo

Teachers have an opportunity to make an impact on lives every single day.

— David Thompson

When considering his retirement from the Marines he wanted to get back into education and that’s when he learned about the MJROTC program. He looked into the job and saw that Ben Davis High School had the program and the current senior marine Instructor was retiring. It also helps that his wife is from the Indianapolis area.

Thompson also said that education is a good second career for those in another career path, like if you get tired of being an accountant or any other job you could transition into teaching if you are driven too.

Lt.Col.Thompson mentioned that today’s high school students can definitely be challenging, but the JROTC curriculum allows he and Sergeant Major Joseph Martin to approach students differently.

They can’t make everyone change just those who want too, because ultimately you make the decision to change.

“Teachers have an opportunity to make an impact on lives every single day,” he said. “Every single day you wake up and come to work you can make an impact on somebody’s life in a positive way.

“This is a pretty weighty responsibility when you think about it. You have to take your job seriously — not like any other job where you go to work and do your thing then go home.”

Teachers shaping the future. If teachers don’t think in terms of making an impact everyday then they are in the wrong profession. It’s wonderful to know that you can help students grow to be successful individuals in whatever path they choose.

If teachers give us the right tools in high school then we will be better off and more likely to be successful.His favorite teaching memories are when students come back and they are successful, that’s what makes him stay motivated.

“There are days that you come in and are like wow, why am I doing this? Do I really want to continue doing this?,” Lt.Col. Thompson said. “Then you talk to a former student and you know why.”

Thompson plans on retiring after the 2020/2021 school year, giving him 22 years as a teacher and 42 years total in uniform.