Class of 2009: Andy Hoffman heads into the ‘wild blue yonder’ with Air ForceWORTHINGTON — When Andy Hoffman began to ponder life after high school, he wasn’t sure which direction to take. He has no desire to take over the family farm near Wilmont, and college just didn’t appeal. What Andy really wants to do is travel the world, so he finally decided to embark on a career that offered that opportunity — the Air Force.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — When Andy Hoffman began to ponder life after high school, he wasn’t sure which direction to take. He has no desire to take over the family farm near Wilmont, and college just didn’t appeal.
What Andy really wants to do is travel the world, so he finally decided to embark on a career that offered that opportunity — the Air Force.
“It’s kind of a thing in my family,” Andy explained. “On my mom’s side, a few have gone into it, and my brother and cousin both found their spouses while they were in the Air Force.”
The youngest of three sons of Virgil and Doreen Hoffman of rural Wilmont, Andy didn’t make up his mind to enlist in the Air Force, following in the footsteps of brother Scott, until earlier this spring.
“Scott joined as a junior,” said Andy, “and March was when I started thinking about it. Now I wish I’d started thinking about it as a junior, then I would have it all taken care of. Now, I’m in the delayed entry program, and I have to wait until August (to go to basic training). I’m ready to move on.
“I don’t really want to go to college at this point,” he continued. “I want to travel the world and get the experiences while I can. While you’re young is probably the best time to do those things.”
During commencement ceremonies last evening for Worthington High School Class of 2009, Andy graduated with a 3.76 grade point average, ranking him 26th in his class, so he’s no slouch when it comes to academics.
He’s also been a standout in a multitude of extracurricular activities.
“As a freshman, I got into everything,” he recalled. “At the end of the year, I was glad it was over, and I thought I would do less after that year. But then the next year came around, and I did it all over again. I just kept being busy. You have to find time to do it all and become a good manager of your time, and you meet a ton of people.
“4-H — that was the start of things, then piano and band I started in middle school. When I got to high school, people said, ‘You should try this and this and this,’ and I liked it, so I got more and more involved.”
Although he grew up on a farm, Andy doesn’t consider himself “a huge ag kid,” but he did participate in FFA and has done well at competitions.
“It’s one of the things I’ve been able to excel at,” he said, quickly adding, “although not more than some of my peers. I started as a freshman, and we had some seniors who were really good, so we got really good as a team. Then they left, and it was me and Brittany Elsing, and we took charge of the team for small animals. We got new people in there, and, at regions, we ended up taking first. … We want to do it, enjoy it and got to state and wanted to do good there. Last year we got 10th; this year we got 13th, and we did pretty good individually. It’s just one of those things you’ve got to have a knack for.”
Andy also has a knack for both talking and performing, making him well suited to participate in both speech and theater.
“Since I was little, my mom always told me I was like that,” he said regarding those abilities. “In a way, I’ve been different from my brothers like that. They did their own thing, were more of the quiet types. I’m the opposite. I’m not afraid to talk to people in any way.”
In the theater realm, Andy’s most recent roles included parts in the WHS productions of “Dracula” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” in which he played one of Joseph’s brothers.
“You do get nervous,” he admitted about getting up on the stage. “Once you’re up there, it gets easier and easier.”
After participating in speech through his junior year, Andy decided to give it up to make his schedule more manageable. His specialty was the informative speech.
“For my last one, I talked about chocolate,” he related. “You can take just about anything and collect all this information on it, put it all together. You have to have some quick jokes, quick wit. I personally like to have a word play. You have to be able to connect with your audience, be able to relay the information on your topic, but you can’t have any opinions on it. It’s kind of straight facts. You have to know how to write it, and you get better and better at it.
“I ended strong, but I didn’t want to continue with it senior year. … I knew I needed my time, it being senior year, all that stuff. I wish I could have done it again. I got to go to state last year, and that was awesome. If I had been in it this year, I probably could have done better, but what can you do?”
Andy is grateful for all his high school experiences, but now he’s anxious to move on to new challenges. After scoring relatively high on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, he’s currently in limbo, waiting to find out his specific field of training.
“You take the ASVAB, which tells you what you’re good in so you can make your decisions and preferences,” he explained. “The jobs I chose don’t really allow me to go outside the U.S., so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to change it. My leaning was in the electronics field, that kind of thing, and there’s only one job that allows me to do what I want to, so we’ll see what else is out there.”
Before he can go to training in his particular field, however, Andy must make it through basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
“I’ve started (working out) because you have to be physically and mentally fit for basic,” he said. “When you’re family’s in it, they tell you stuff about it, so I know it’s going to be a challenge, going to be a tough eight and a half weeks.”
While his brother was stationed in Germany, Andy had the opportunity to visit him and spent three weeks taking in the sights of Europe. That experience, along with a couple of other foreign travel opportunities, stimulated his desire to see more of the world.
“I’d like to be stationed somewhere in Europe, definitely,” Andy said. “I think I’d just like to go to the same places he did — definitely somewhere in Europe, somewhere in Japan, because we have the same travel interests.”
No matter where his stint in the Air Force takes him, Andy believes he’s up to any challenge that will come his way.
“One of the things is you’ve got to want to do it,” he reflected. “If you don’t have the drive, it’s going to be really tough. College just didn’t have everything offered to me that I was looking for. The Air Force has the challenges, and I think it can give me everything I’m going to need in life. I can always do college — the Air Force, not so much. College I can definitely pursue afterward.”