After a grueling week-long training, a high school senior has new respect for law enforcement.
Matt Hovis, a student at West Lincoln High School, participated in a rigorous highway patrol training camp in Raleigh June 26 through July 1.
â€œI just wanted to see if I could do it,â€ he said.
The difficult training program began each day at 5 a.m. Campers would do exercises on the training field, including pushups, sit-ups and a three-mile run.
Being an offensive tackle for the West Lincoln High School football team made Hovis prepared for the workouts, though he still had trouble with the run.
â€œIt about killed me,â€ he said.
After exercising, campers would have to shower, wash their clothes, get dressed and clean up their room and bathroom all in 10 minutes.
Hovis said that prior to coming to the camp, he was told to bring laundry detergent and an iron.
The iron wasnâ€™t for his clothes, however, but for his bed sheets, which he was required to iron everyday.
And instead of using the detergent in a washing machine, he ended having to wash his clothes in a sink during the 10-minute period.
Many times he didn`t get all the detergent out, making his clothes rather uncomfortable the rest of the day.
Other activities included shot practice and Hovisâ€™ favorite, driving course instruction.
Hovis was one of two high school students from Lincoln County who attended the program, though the other attendee left the first day.
Unfortunately, Hovis did not get a chance to make many friends because they were not allowed to talk at all, even at meal times.
When someone did talk, the troopers made sure they did not do it again.
Hovis said the only time he got in trouble was when the troopers discovered the pocketknife he carried around.
â€œ[If you did something wrong], there would be four or five state troopers in your face,â€ Hovis said.
Campers were not given any free time and could not make phone calls during the program.
â€œHe couldnâ€™t talk to me all week,â€ said his girlfriend, Sara Elmore.
However grueling his week was, Hovis was proud that he made it through the program, being one of 32 graduates.
Even though he plans to become a game warden or county cop, he now has a deep admiration for what highway patrolmen go through.
The actual program to become a highway patrolman is 29 weeks long, compared to the one week Hovis went through.
â€œI have a lot more appreciation for the highway patrol,â€ he said.
Though he was pleased with his experience in Raleigh, he was happy to see his parents and girlfriend on graduation day.
â€œI couldnâ€™t wait to get home on Friday,â€ he said.
by Mary Williams