58th KHP class graduates with more women than ever before

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Hundreds of Kansans welcomed the 58th class of Troopers to the Kansas Highway Patrol Thursday afternoon.

What used to be a dream for 24 hopefuls, is now a reality.

“The stress of the academy is just released,” graduate Kirsten Parynik said after she got her badge. “I’m a trooper now. This is awesome.”

Thursday afternoon, 24 recruits received their badge at the graduation ceremony in front of hundreds of families and friends.

“This badge means so much to me,” she said. “I’m honored and just extremely ready and glad to wear it.”

But Parynik said getting the badge was no easy task.

“It’s 23 weeks of constant go, go, go,” she said. “Sweat, tears…just all we got.”

Trooper Benjamin Gardner told KSN recruits are trained mentally, physically and academically for 23 weeks until graduation.

It’s a hard challenge, but something Parynik called girl power for her graduating class.

“For the 24 that are graduating today, four of them are females,” Trooper Ben said. “That’s the first time we’ve ever had that. We’ve had women graduate before, but not this many.”

It’s a milestone that Trooper Ben said will help diversify the department, but also prove that anyone can earn that badge.

“Girl power,” she said. “I hope this class shows other women that hey we go through it.”

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