WESTFIELD, NJ —  Westfield High School student Michael Hauge, a clarinetist in the school’s marching band, is one of 125 high school seniors in the country to be selected to play in marching band during the US Army All-American Bowl presented by American Family Insurance in San Antonio, Texas, this January.

Hauge is one of only two students from New Jersey to receive the honor. Band members are chosen not just because they excel musically, but because they are mentally and physically agile, they know the importance of teamwork and they are able to adapt to challenging situations, similar to US Army Soldiers, according to the US Army.

He was honored Tuesday at WHS at ceremony featuring a representative from the All-American Games, several members of the US Army, WHS band directors Chris Vitale and Trevor Sindorf and Acting Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson. 

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Hauge called his selection “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Nelson, speaking to the crowd of marching band students and others Tuesday, noted that Hauge boasts one of the top GPAs in his class. A member of the Army Reserves himself, the acting principal said that Hauge embodies the characteristics of the American soldier.

 “We’re excited to watch Michael continue his success here at Westfield High School,” Nelson said.

Band director Chris Vitale said that Hauge is the first WHS Marching Band student to receive the honor.

“Congratulations, Michael,” Vitale said. “I’m extremely proud of you.”

For 17 years, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has been the nation’s premier high school football game, serving as the preeminent launching pad for America’s future college and NFL stars, according to the US Army, which said that Odell Beckham Jr., Andrew Luck, Adrian Peterson and Christian McCaffrey made their national debuts as U.S. Army All-Americans. A total of 330 U.S. Army All-American Bowl alumni have been selected in NFL Drafts. The 2016 game drew a crowd of 39,121 to the Alamodome.

Hauge will receive an all-expense paid trip to San Antonio.  The game will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. The band will play during halftime.