Central Hardin High School senior Clayton Hockman had a desire to join the military from an early age.
The Glendale native said his family had an influence on the decision. He said both of his great-grandfathers served in World War II.
“I knew one of them and after he died, that’s what made me decide I wanted to be in the US military,” he said.
Hockman easily chose to join JROTC as a CHHS recruit. He quickly joined the program, often being the first cadet to move up the ranks as opportunities presented themselves.
In Hockman’s first year he was a company commander and his final year he was selected to be commanding officer of the entire battalion, where he was responsible for mentoring 120 cadets.
Their raider team went to the National Raider Competition in Molena, Georgia every year it was not canceled due to COVID and he and his senior drill team classmates ended their careers four-year-old with a 208-1 record, coming away with first place at their last 7th Brigade Drill Meet championship at North Hardin High School in March.
Retired Lt. Col. Roland Haun, a JROTC instructor at Central Hardin High School, first met Hockman when he and the other eighth graders from West Hardin Middle School visited the high school to orient yourself. Haun said Hockman said he wanted to join JROTC because he was going to be an army officer.
“He’s definitely on his way to realizing that dream,” Haun said. “This recognition is unique in that Clayton is reserved and not an outspoken person. He loves Central Hardin and has been in all four years. He leads, serves his school and community, and is academically strong.
Haun said Hockman has been an invaluable asset to the JROTC program.
While not only commanding the Bruin Battalion, he was captain of the National Men’s Raider Team and the undefeated drill team that won the 7th Brigade Drill Competition this year. He commanded the Men’s Color Guard, Armed Platoon, Armed Inspection, and participated in the Brigade Championship Armed Exhibition Team.
In addition to his involvement with JROTC, Hockman was selected to the first team in all football districts and qualified for the state wrestling tournament the two years he was on the team. He captained the football and wrestling teams this year. He also represented CHHS on the archery team.
“I believe 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 college level and continued through his first two years of high school, qualifying for 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 it had. He finished his senior season with a 28-5 record.
“I had a lot of fun with it. I’m really glad I did it,” he said.
He played four years of Central Hardin Bruin football, which he called one of the greatest things he had ever done. He praised the ties that have been established, calling the team a family.
Academically, Hockman has a 3.92 GPA and has completed all honors level courses. He has a class rank of 62 out of 400.
A recent big moment for Hockman came March 12 at the 7th Drill Brigade Meet Championships when he was awarded a full four-year Army ROTC scholarship to attend Western Kentucky University, where he plans to study. criminology.
He was introduced to him by 7th Brigade Commander Col. Brent Clemmer and Fort Knox Commander Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis.
After graduating from college, Hockman would be commissioned as an officer in the United States Army.
Additionally, Hockman was recently honored with the Student of the Month Award by the Rotary Club of Elizabethtown, 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 attends major church events such as chicken dinners and chili dinners. In his spare time, Hockman enjoys video games, hunting, fishing and the outdoors.
Hockman’s mother, Jessica Jackson, said she watched him spend countless hours devoting himself to everything he did. She said there have been many days of waking up at 5:30 a.m. and coming home at 10 p.m.
“I admired his ability to handle it all and stay so motivated and focused, never complaining or looking overwhelmed. Clayton also served as an incredible example to his three younger brothers, who follow him closely in the age, and I have watched many of his peers as they look up to him and strive to emulate his role model. I consider him our personal hero and couldn’t be prouder of a young man than ‘he became,’ she said in an email.
When asked what drives him, Hockman said it was his desire to succeed.
“That determination to succeed and to push myself to the limit every day. If I hold back, I prevent myself from creating memories that I could have created,” he said.