While the rest of her classmates were inside classrooms and sitting at their desks, Cypress Creek Middle/High (CCMH) seventh grader Rose Macapinlac was running in a dead sprint towards the school’s athletic fields.
When she reached her goal, she turned around and ran back, then attacked an obstacle course that included a four-foot-tall wall she had to drag herself over, hurdles she was required to leap, orange cones she zig-zagged around and a low crawl she slithered through before reaching a 100-pound dummy she had to drag across the grass.
And, that only marked the halfway point of the modified Physical Abilities Test (PAT) that is required for Florida Department of Law Enforcement Capitol Police.
“Once they pull that dummy, that’s when the legs turn to jelly,” said April Heuss, the teacher of CCMH’s criminal justice program, which she says she believes is the first of its kind in the state of Florida.
After a school year of teaching students things like proper radio procedures, teamwork, leadership and the importance of law enforcement, Heuss wrapped up the school year by putting her classes through the arduous demands of a simulated PAT, which has to be passed by prospective law enforcement officers.
Students in her classes had to exit a vehicle (in this case a golf cart) with a flashlight in hand, run 220 yards, complete an obstacle course, drag the dummy, do the obstacle course again, run 220 yards, dry-fire a plastic gun six times with each hand, and call in their report.
While law enforcement applicants have to complete their course in 6 minutes, 4 seconds, Cypress Creek students were wrapping up their modified course (with a 100-pound dummy compared to the 150 pounder dragged by law enforcement) in 3:30-5 minutes.
“Getting over the wall with a flashlight in my hands was the hardest,” said Rose. “My legs hurt.”
Gabriel Linck was the fastest boy on the day, with a time of 3:35, running it twice with plans to do it again.
Anna Ritchie was the fastest girl, finishing in 4:03.
“They are all wanting to see who got the best time, who is going to win,” Heuss said. “This was supposed to be a one-day thing but the kids were so stoked and excited about it we decided to keep doing it for three days. They love it.”