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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Gonzaga Prep: Clayton Hooper’s connections with others helps power him through next stage of life

Clayton Hooper, of Gonzaga Preparatory School, has worked as the school’s ministry coordinator, has co-founded and is co-president of the GU Prep Investment Club, is head of the student-led cheering section and is a baseball player.  (Courtesy)
By Vincent Saglimbeni For The Spokesman-Review

There are not many people like Gonzaga Preparatory School senior Clayton Hooper. According to his history teacher, Pat Segadelli, “Clay” can identify the first and last name of every graduating senior in his class, not just by their first and last name, either. He can tell you something about each individual in his graduating class.

“I just don’t know many high school students that could do something like that, or could even offer something special about each of their peers that they’re graduating with,” Segadelli said. “That’s a small anecdote that really shows how Clay has this ability to connect with people.”

He is described as joyous, deeply good, energetic, loving and compassionate by Segadelli and his mother, Betsy. He is also someone who has a unique way of getting to know those around him.

Through his work as a campus ministry coordinator, co-founder and co-president of the GU Prep Investment Club, head of the student-led cheering section and a baseball player, Hooper lives out the connections he creates with others through extracurricular activities.

His mom expressed how proud she was of the work her son has done so far.

“(I’m) so very proud of the hard work that he has put in school and more proud of the character he has developed,” Betsy said. “I’m a firm believer that in life, character is who you are, and it will dictate his success with people for the rest of his years.”

Like many people during the spring of 2020, Hooper had his sophomore year of high school taken away due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, in Clay Hooper style, he used that time to continue connecting with his friends, going on walks outside and playing spikeball to keep that togetherness with friends.

As he enters his final few weeks of high school, although he felt weird that it was all happening very fast, he still remembers every moment of his time at G-Prep.

“I remember freshmen year like it was yesterday, but there’s been so much within that with the global pandemic and everything everyone’s gone through in sports and school,” Hooper said. “It’s a crazy journey that we’re here, and I’m excited (for the next step) and I think a lot of people in my grade are, too.”

Hooper will be attending the University of Washington in Seattle in the fall. Joined by two of his best friends, Hooper wants to go through the communications program, and he said if he decides to go to the business school, he wants to follow a business finance career, as he has interest in the stock market.

With different career plans and dreams, from being a stockbroker to a sports broadcaster, Hooper wants to do what he does best – talk and get to know people. Although not much is set in stone now, Hooper said he is not worried one bit.

“At the start of the year, I thought I had everything planned out, and now I feel like I don’t, and that’s OK to me,” Hooper said.