Eighteen-year-old Jared Hill stands with his mother, Monica Green, during senior night for Henry County High School's soccer team in April. Hill is scheduled to report for an appointment at the United States Military Academy at West Point later this month.
By Johnny Jackson
Jared Hill thanks his mother for planning the week-long trip to Annapolis, Md., last summer.
For six days during the summer of his senior year at Henry County High School, Hill took part in the United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar, where he learned about life at the Naval Academy and what direction his life soon would be taking.
"I had absolutely no interest in the military until last summer," said Hill, now 18. "That changed when I went to Summer Leadership Seminar. I liked the structure, and that all these people around me were brilliant and had something to do every minute of the day."
Hill said he spent the next several months of his senior year pursuing an appointment to one of the nation's military academies. He said he learned on May 5 that he had received two appointments to military academies -- the first was to the Naval Academy's Preparatory School, and the second was an appointment to United States Military Academy at West Point.
Hill said he chose West Point. "That was a good day," said the otherwise unassuming teenager.
Standing 5-feet, 6 inches tall, and weighing 140 pounds, Hill believes his ability to do several different things well, added to his appeal as an applicant.
He graduated from Henry County High on May 28, with an eclectic resume, complete with leadership roles in athletics, academics, and social organizations at the school.
He was the captain of the high school's varsity soccer team, where he played center midfielder. The Honors student was also the executive committee chairperson on the school's Student Council and a member of the Beta Club, yearbook and newspaper staffs. He also managed to get a part-time job at McDonald's last summer.
"I believe my well-roundedness helped," he said. "I'm a good athlete, and a successful student. I think I've got a little bit of everything."
Hill plans to tryout for the Army Soccer Team at West Point, and is scheduled to report to the military academy on June 28. "I'm excited. I'm really, really excited," said Hill, who is currently spending time with his grandparents in his Brandon, Miss., a small city near Jackson, Miss.
He credits his grandparents and his mother, Monica Green, with playing an instrumental role in his success, thus far, in life. "My mom, she's pushed me from a young age," he said.
"He's worked hard," Monica Green interjected. "I've just kind of nagged and harassed him along the way -- just a little extra prodding."
Green said she registered her son, the oldest of three, for the United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar last summer in order to provide him a different perspective on leadership. "I've known this kid all his life, and I've watched him grow," she said. "Of course, I'm a proud mother. I like seeing how God works -- just seeing how he's grown is amazing."
Hill also has grown over his years at Henry County High, according to Principal Andy Giddens.
Giddens said Hill will be joining a growing class of Henry County High graduates, who have gone on to appointments at the nation's military academies.
The principal said Nick Krieger and Ron Windham are recent Henry County High graduates currently attending the U.S. Air Force Academy. He noted that Krieger, Windham and Hill are the latest of eight military academy appointees at Henry County High, since he began at the school 11 years ago.
"We're very proud of that," Giddens said. "We've been very fortunate the last several years to have a great crew of students come through our school.