Two Forsyth Central High School students received special recognition during a ceremony at the school Monday.
Ashley Jeter and Haley Womac, both senior members of the Flash of Crimson color guard, were presented with All-American Bowl jackets by U.S. Army members.
The girls are part of an elite group of 125 musicians and color guard members from across the country chosen for the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
After a lengthy application and audition process, Jeter and Womac received notification of their selection to the group, which will present a halftime performance at the nationally broadcast All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 4.
The bowl game, which is the Army’s largest national outreach effort, also features high school football players and cheerleaders from across the country in an East versus West matchup.
According to information from the organization, “Band members are selected not just because they excel in music and performance, but because they embody the same values of our country’s Army-strong soldiers, like loyalty and integrity.”
Families, friends and fellow band members of the girls gathered at Central’s auditorium Monday morning for the jacket presentation.
Sgt. 1stClass Michael Nelson, told the assembly that there are many similarities between marching band and the U.S. Army.
“[Both provide] young Americans with training, discipline and experiences that make them mentally, emotionally and physically strong,” he said. “It takes a special person to be a soldier, just as it takes a special band member to be selected as a U.S. Army All-American.”
Both young women said being selected for the group was a dream come true.
“I’ve aspired to be part of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band since my freshman year when I saw my captain do this same thing,” Jeter said.
Added Womac: “It’s really a blessing to get to perform with a group that is so diverse … I can’t wait to get to San Antonio to perform and represent my band.”
Central’s band director Tom Tucker said the school has a history of students being selected for the prestigious group, noting that at least one student from Flash of Crimson has made it every year since 2006.
“Over the years, we’ve had probably at least 10 kids make it,” he said, adding that Jeter and Womac are in for a treat.
“Having so many of our kids take part in this, I know what they’re in for,” he said. “I know it’s a really special thing. The kids get to experience so much while they’re out there.”