CHESHIRE — For this first time in as long as anyone can remember, a Hoosac Valley Student has been tapped to attend a United States service academy.
Hoosac Valley High School senior Jared Haley was accepted this spring into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he will join at the rank of midshipman. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, who nominated Haley as a candidate to the academy, visited the school Tuesday morning to celebrate the accomplishment.
Each member of the House of Representatives is allowed to make nominations from their district for each of the five service academies, one of which was Haley. But there are no guarantees, and Haley made it through a rigorous selection process to earn a slot in the Naval Academy.
"The competition is really quite extensive," Neal said to a crowd in the Hoosac Valley atrium.
Though all eyes were on Haley and his accomplishments, he deflected the praise and said thanks to his family and mentors.
"What you don't see is the countless number of hours put in, the countless number of resources by teachers, by your parents, by coaches," Haley said. "It's just something that you just don't see; it's something that I value tremendously."
The senior from Adams said he wouldn't be here today if not for the guidance of his teachers, parents and coaches.
"I can only say that I've taken advantage of the opportunities they've given me," he said.
Neal said the Naval Academy ranks as one of the best colleges and universities in the country.
"I can't highlight enough the role this community played, in bringing us to this day, in Jared Haley's success," Neal said.
School records did not immediately indicate when, if ever, a Hoosac Valley student has been selected into one of the country's service academies.
In addition to a requirement that candidates be nominated, prospective students of the academy must undergo fitness and medical testing. But once they're in, students receive free tuition, room and board, and are actually paid for their service.
Though he is the only member of his high school class to be accepted into a service academy, graduating students join the military every year. Approximately 4 percent of the class of 2015 reported joining a branch of the military after high school.
Following the celebration, Neal toured the middle and high school before stopping in a seventh grade social studies classroom for a wide-ranging discussion on government.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.