"It was a great experience," the 16-year-old son of Carlos Villagomez of River Green said.
John again joined 99 other students who left Friday to participate in a week-long cadet summer program operated by Teasley Middle School's JROTC Commander Dr. Santiago Santana.
The cadet program is located where the United States Marine Corps operates its basic training.
Dr. Santana said the cadets will go through a mini boot camp filled with obstacle courses, leadership reaction courses and rappel towers, among other things.
The students will wake up at 5 a.m. each day and undergo physical training, rifle drills, locker inspections and other basic training activities.
The students will return next Saturday with a ceremony similar to troops returning from deployment. The ceremony will be conducted at the Georgia National Guard Amory in Canton, Dr. Santana said.
Dr. Santana began the trips 11 years ago, but this is his second year running a camp at Parris Island.
"It gives me a personal fulfillment" to help create soldiers at a young age, he said.
The students will learn the core values of life, obtain better leadership skills and will receive a higher ranking when they enter the JROTC program at their respective high schools, the commander noted.
Dr. Santana also said the program opens up scholarship opportunities for the students who wish to attend military colleges.
Dr. Santana said parents also notice a change in their children.
"The parents say the kids become more responsible," he said.
Dr. Santana added he hopes the students take in the experience and use it as an "incentive" to possibly gauge what they would like to do as a future career.
For John, the trips have served that purpose.
John said he would like to join the U.S. Special Forces in the Army and said the program will help younger recruits develop their leadership capabilities.
"It really helps them become better people in general," he said.
That's why Jonathan Turner decided to take the trip to Parris Island.
Jonathan, the 13-year-old son of Andrew and Liberty Turner of River Green, said he's excited about going.
Jonathan, a rising freshman at Cherokee High School, said he's hoping to gain strength and speed, which he said could help him when he eventually joins the Army.
Jonathan also said the trip will also teach him and other students about hard work and persistence.
"It will be a fun experience," he said.