By Alex DeMetrick

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Six weeks to toughen up for the next four years. It’s called Plebe Summer at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Alex DeMetrick reports now that grueling summer comes to an end.

The class of 2019 has a long way to go before graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, but a big hurdle is over. Six weeks ago, they said goodbye to civilian life on Induction Day and hello to the realities of Plebe Summer.

For some, the reality hit a little harder than expected, but there was no question of finishing.

Marching in for the noon formation, Plebe Summer ends before families who have had very little contact with their sons and daughters.

Back when they said goodbye, it was:

“Bitter sweet. We’re proud of him and we’re proud of all the young men and women, but it was also sad to see him leave. But we’re excited for today,” said Kristie Cziep, plebe parent.

“Maybe a little change. Maybe. Hopefully,” said Bobbie Lee, plebe parent.

And in an instant, it was over, and nearly 1,200 plebes went looking for their families.

“Awesome. Incredible. Transformed. Just like they mentioned he would be,” said Diane Kocvella, plebe parent.

“It’s been a good experience. There’s a lot of new things you get to do. It’s really like a summer you can never redo,” said Marcus Brisson, USNA plebe.

The purpose of Plebe Summer is to mentally and physically prepare this class for the next four years to come.

“It was difficult at times, but you definitely learn a lot. They help you understand why they’re doing everything you do, which really makes it all worth it in the end, I think,” said Erin McDonnell, USNA plebe.

Plebes and families will have all weekend to catch up, but the first activity was not to be missed — lunch for 1,200 plus.

Families came to the Naval Academy from throughout the U.S. — some from as far away as Washington state and California.

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