My question is that I want to keep up on current technologies and improve upon the application. the first thing that I plan on doing in transitioning to use Hibernate.
If you want to 'improve upon the application' then please explain why you plan to transition to Hibernate.
How do you expect that to improve the application?
Don't fall for the trap of assuming that just using some piece of technology will "improve" your application.
It won't, period. And unless you already know that technology well it will quite likely degrade your application, seriously.
Write down what you want to improve, why you want to improve it, what results you expect, and then start looking for things that can help you realise those improvements.
And no, "I want to be modern" isn't a reason to change your application architecture. "The system I've been using is no longer supported by its vendor" might be a reason, but if you're now using something that old you may well be looking at a complete rewrite of the system, not an improvement.
I suggest reading up on why hibernate is better than jdbc or vise-versa in order to determine the trade-offs rather than assume hibernate is better in all situations.
Also, if you are not well versed in JDBC (and database concepts), I suggest you stick with JDBC until you are before moving over to hibernate (or JPA).
If you have an established database schema, Netbean IDE has wizards to accomplish generating the annotation based java classes for you (among other wizards).
what follows is a rough outline of using it. It will set up your configuration and lay out basic entities for you. It does only part of your job. You will have to study hibernate (or JPA) to fully implement
hibernate with a database with database table associations:
file->new project->java web->web application->create a new web application.
Highlight the web application icon.
file->new file->hibernate->Hibernate Mapping Files and POJOs from Database
Or, if you want to use JPA:
file->new file->persistence->entity classes from database.
Lastly, there is nothing like reading a book from cover to cover to really learn a specific technology.
again, do not make mindless assumptions... Hibernate is NOT necessarily superior to plain old JDBC.
It all depends on what you want to achieve.
If your application does very little database access, Hibernate or JPA can be massive overkill for example.
And yes, you too are falling for the typical trap of assuming that newer is always better, that just using a particular tool or library will make things "better", etc. etc.
And of course you're falling for the trap of assuming that anyone who doesn't suggest your favourite tool must be an idiot who knows nothing about that tool.