Case Hoch
PHS sophomore Case Hoch is the Forestry Student of the Month for October. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

With a couple of years of high school remaining, a lot of students don’t have much of a grasp on what they really might want to do with their lives leading up to the diploma walk. But during a talk with Philomath High School sophomore Case Hoch, it becomes clear that the 15-year-old has reached a level of maturity not often seen at that age with a plan that he’s carved out for himself.

A top student in the PHS forestry program, Hoch is soaking up as much knowledge as possible.

Editor’s note: The PHS Forestry Student of the Month series highlights top forestry students. This series is made possible through a sponsorship of Starker Forests.

“I would say probably ‘projects’ is my favorite thing to learn from — the smaller things that you learn now that will help you throughout life later on,” Hoch said when asked what he enjoys most about his forestry class. “That’s what my plan is — to later be involved in reforestation and seedling production probably.”

Hoch, son of Dick and Tina Hoch, is October’s Philomath High School Forestry Student of the Month sponsored by Starker Forests.

Hoch said he became involved with the PHS forestry program because of “the people I’ve grown up around who have been involved in the forestry industry and timber itself. I’ve wanted to follow that path and just learn the things that maybe they didn’t get the opportunity to learn when they were kids and advance from their knowledge and the knowledge I’ll learn here.”

His dad runs an excavator piling slash and his grandfather on his mother’s side was a log truck driver. “And before that, just loggers all around my family,” he said.

Besides the little projects that provide opportunities to learn, Hoch said he also gains knowledge from the physical work involved with the program, such as going out and participating in competitions. Because of the pandemic, Hoch hasn’t been able to actually compete against students from other schools just yet with those activities limited to in-class practice.

For now, Hoch will continue with his PHS studies but with an eye on his future.

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Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.