Trooper Youth Week


Emily Barbire, Editor

Each year, the New Jersey State Police holds its annual Trooper Youth Week, a program for students which simulates an actual law enforcement academy.

Trooper Youth week was first held on June 28, 1965, and for nearly 60 years, the program’s goal has been to educate youths on law enforcement, encourage them to act courteously in public, and practice good character and morals.

In previous years, Hawthorne alumni Cassandra Fetchik, class of 2012, and Alexsandra Clavijo, Class of 2020, have attended this program. Like his two sisters before him this past summer, Xavier Clavijo represented Hawthorne as a squad leader at Trooper Youth Week.

Xavier’s dedication throughout the program and the application process is impressive. Trooper Youth Week is highly selective; not just anyone can attend. To be eligible, you must be 17 years of age and going into your senior year of high school. When applying, you must provide a recommendation from your principal, guidance counselor, or another person of significance. Applicants must display good character in and outside of school, thrive academically, and must be able to meet all physical requirements throughout the program.

After receiving acceptance to the program, you must meet several other needs. All attendees must be presentable, with groomed nails and trimmed hair, and throughout the program, you must wear conservative clothing, closed-toed shoes, and no jewelry. Xavier, our very own Hawthorne Bear, fit all the requirements and was a perfect candidate for the role.

Throughout the week, the attendees followed a rigorous physical and mental training schedule. With their mornings starting at 5:45 am, trainees must ensure their room is clean and presentable, an aspect taken from the actual police academy. They complete military drills and training throughout the day, followed by a lecture. Some lectures include crime scene investigation or enforcing drug and alcohol abuse laws. They also experience live demonstrations and use equipment hands-on, which was Xavier’s favorite part of the program. Attendees were also taught proper leadership and communication skills throughout the week, which they are expected to take with them post-graduation.

Xavier spoke highly of Trooper Youth Week and was proud of his accomplishment when asked about it. He raved about how this experience was informative, and he learned a lot throughout the week that he will use throughout his life.

When discussing the week as a whole, Xavier stated, “I would highly recommend to those interested in a career in law enforcement to do it.”

Clavijo mentioned that on top of all the information you would learn, aspiring officers will get a more well-rounded idea of the job and its responsibilities.