CHHS senior strives for success, prepares for career in U.S. Army | Tuesday’s Teen

Central Hardin High School senior Clayton Hockman has had a desire to join the military from an early age.

The Glendale native said his family was a influence in that decision. He said both of his great-grandfathers served in World War II.

“I knew one of them and after he passed away that was the thing that made me decide that I want to be in the United States Army,” he said.

Hockman readily opted to join JROTC as a CHHS freshman. He quickly took to the program, often being the first cadet to make succeeding ranks as the opportunities became available.

By Hockman’s junior year, he was a company commander and his senior year he was selected to be commander of the entire battalion, where he was responsible for the mentorship of 120 cadets.

Their raider team made it to the National Raider Competition in Molena, Georgia, each year it was not canceled due to COVID and he and his drill team senior classmates finished their four-year career with a record of 208-1, walking away with first place at their final 7th Brigade Drill Meet Championship at North Hardin High School in March.

Retired Lt. Col.Roland Haun, JROTC instructor at Central Hardin High School, first met Hockman when he and the other West Hardin Middle School eighth graders visited the high school for orientation. Haun said that Hockman said he wanted to join JROTC because he was going to become an army officer.

“He is certainly on his way to fulfilling that dream,” Haun said. “This recognition is unique in that Clayton is reserved and not an outspoken person. He loves Central Hardin and has attended all four years. He leads, serves his school and community and is academically sound.”

Haun said Hockman has been an invaluable asset to the JROTC program.

While not only commanding the Bruin Battalion, he served as the captain of both the National Male Raider Team and the undefeated drill team that won the 7th Brigade drill meet this year. He commanded the Male Color Guard, Armed Platoon, Armed Inspection as well as competing on the Brigade Championship Armed Exhibition Team.

In addition to his involvement with JROTC, Hockman was selected to First Team All-District in football and qualified for the state wrestling tournament both years that he was on the team. He served as a captain for both the football and wrestling teams this year. He has also represented CHHS on the archery team.

“I believe that Clayton Hockman represents the best of Central Hardin as he quietly demonstrates the attributes of mental, spiritual and physical strength,” Haun said.

Hockman began competing in archery at the middle school level and continued that for his first two years of high school, making it to the state tournament both years. Hockman’s junior year, he switched from archery to wrestling.

Hockman was completely new to wrestling, but gave the sport everything he had. He finished his senior season with a record of 28-5.

“I had a lot of fun with that. Definitely glad I did it,” he said.

He played four years of Central Hardin Bruin football, which he called one of the greatest things he has ever done. He touted the connections made, calling the team a family.

Academically, Hockman has a GPA of 3.92 and has taken all honors level classes. He has a class rank of 62 out of 400.

A recent big moment for Hockman came on March 12 at the 7th Brigade Drill Meet Championships when he was awarded a full four-year scholarship by the Army ROTC to attend Western Kentucky University, where he plans to study criminology.

It was presented to him by 7th Brigade Commander Col. Brent Clemmer and Fort Knox Commander Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis.

Upon graduation from college, Hockman will commission as an officer in the United States Army.

Additionally, Hockman recently was awarded the Student of the Month by the Elizabethtown Rotary Club, as well as the #HCSStrongerTogether Student Award at its monthly meeting in April.

Outside of school and sports, Hockman is active at White Mills Christain Church and regularly assists with the church’s large events such as chicken dinners and chili dinners. In his free time, Hockman enjoys video games, hunting, fishing, and being outdoors.

Hockman’s mother, Jessica Jackson, said she has watched him put in countless hours to dedicate himself to all he does. She said there have been many days of waking up at 5:30 a.m. and getting home at 10 p.m.

“I have admired his ability to manage it all and stay so driven and focused, all while never complaining or seeming overwhelmed. Clayton has also served as an amazing example to his three younger brothers, who follow him closely in age, and I have observed many of his peers as they look up to him and strive to mimic his behavior model. I consider him to be our personal hero and couldn’t be prouder of the young man he has become,” she said in an email.

When asked what drives him, Hockman said it is his want to be successful.

“That determination to be successful and push myself to the limit every single day. If I hold back, I am stopping myself from making memories that I could have made,” he said.

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