MASH substitute teacher makes a mark on the community

Mr.+Robinson+teaches+students+in+Modern+American+Conflict+about+the+tooth+to+tail+ratio+and+his+experiences+in+the+Vietnam+War.+
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MASH substitute teacher makes a mark on the community

Mr. Robinson teaches students in Modern American Conflict about the tooth to tail ratio and his experiences in the Vietnam War.

Mr. Robinson teaches students in Modern American Conflict about the tooth to tail ratio and his experiences in the Vietnam War.

Victoria Yother

Mr. Robinson teaches students in Modern American Conflict about the tooth to tail ratio and his experiences in the Vietnam War.

Victoria Yother

Victoria Yother

Mr. Robinson teaches students in Modern American Conflict about the tooth to tail ratio and his experiences in the Vietnam War.

Erin Harris, Guest Reporter

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Everyday, multiple substitute teachers enter through the doors of MASH in order to help and fill the places of absent teachers, but one stands out among the rest. Karl Robinson, currently 76 years old, and once a Social Studies teacher at MASH, now spends some of his time substituting for MASH. But, before his glory days of teaching, Robinson lived an entirely different life, as a member of the United States Army.

Robinson started his duty when he entered West Point, the United States Military Academy, at the ripe age of 18. He started as a “New Cadet on 5 July 1960.”  Robinson’s first choice of college wasn’t West Point, though. His “big sister had used up the money my dad had set aside for college expenses attending Dickinson College, so I had to figure out a way to fund my own college.” The idea to start on the path towards the military came from one of his classmates whose father was a colonel in the Army.

Robinson had gotten a notification from West Point saying he was “fully qualified, no vacancy.” While he waited, he also applied to other colleges, such as Dartmouth, but while he waiting, he received an NROTC scholarship. The NROTC Program educates and trains young men and women to become officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.

Robinson was “saved from disgracing the family by entering the Navy” when he was notified a vacancy was available at West Point.

However, sadness overcame Robinson as he left on a bus to West Point from Washington D.C., knowing he wouldn’t be able to see his family until “Christmas at West Point, since we Plebes were not allowed to go home for the holidays.” Soon, fear took over when hazing from the upperclassmen started. It was “unrelenting” and “we were exhausted from physical activity, lack of sleep and restricted rations,” Robinson recalled.

The Academy kept Robinson busy with numerous classes, including hard core PE classes, and homework and grading that “exerted a pressure of another kind”. Many other students felt the need to drop out, but Robinson didn’t think for a second about quitting. A graduating class that started with 980 members dropped to 564 by the time they graduated.

With Robinson’s dad in the Army when he was growing up, Robinson was used to moving around a great deal. He had lived in numerous states, so when he started moving from state to state and country to country for the Army, he already knew the feeling.

With his face lit up, Robinson touched on the places he was and said, “after graduation and marriage I went  to Ranger and Airborne schools at Ft. Benning, GA, then on to Augsburg, Germany for 3 years, a year in Vietnam, a year in the Panama Canal Zone, a year in Ft. Benning, GA for training, another year in Vietnam, 2 years in graduate school, Johns Hopkins School of International Studies in DC, a  year of school in Ft. Leavenworth, KS, 4 years teaching at West Point, 2 years in Ft. Carson, CO, 3 years in Madrid, Spain, 3 years in the Pentagon in Virginia, 2 years in Lakenheath, England and 4 years here in Carlisle at the Army War College.”

Throughout his 28 years of service, Robinson has learned many valuable lessons, such as “the importance and necessity of dedicating your life to defending your country” and “discipline, leadership, the importance of teamwork, organizational skills, being responsible for my actions, the importance of taking care of your subordinates and co-workers, adaptability, that making difficult decisions doesn’t get easier if you put it off, learning never ends, compassion, empathy and how to throw a grenade.”

Also within those 28 years, he worked his way up to becoming a Colonel in the United States Army. It took him “20 years in the Army” to become a Colonel, just like his dad.

Finally, after 28 years of moving and the birth of his three daughters, Colonel Robinson and his wife settled in Carlisle, PA. From there he taught social studies and coached cross country for 15 ½ years at MASH. During those years, he was also instrumental in helping MASH’s England Exchange Program, for students and teachers, flourish.

Today, Colonel Karl Robinson is still making a difference in the MASH community by substitute teaching, helping to coach cross country and track, and giving his time wherever he can to help the students. But, no one will ever forget the 28 years of service he gave to our country by being a part of the United States Army.

 

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MASH substitute teacher makes a mark on the community