Joining an impressive batch of former Tigers already enshrined, the Fayette County High School Hall of Fame inducted a special Class of 2019 over the weekend.
The 2019 student-athlete inductees are Brandon Boykin and Matt Daniels.
Boykin was a multi-sport star at FCHS who went on to play football at the University of Georgia, where he racked up accolades including All-American honors. He went on to play six seasons in the NFL and is currently working in broadcasting.
Boykin shared a message of perseverance and dedication with FCHS students at a Friday afternoon pep rally.
“All of these people are up here were in the same classrooms. We didn’t give up on our dreams. We heard ‘no’, and we had adversity, but we continued to go,” said Boykin. “And that’s going to be you guys one day. You don’t have to be Hall of Famers in an athletic career. You see people doing amazing things in business, entrepreneurship, anything, and that’s because they didn’t give up on their dreams.”
He hoped that future Tigers would follow his example and return to the school to share their own message in the future.
“That’s the most important part of my journey is to be able to come back and talk to you guys. Don’t forget where you come from because Fayette County is a special place,” he said. “When you get where you’re going, make sure you come back and inspire and give your time.”
Daniels shined in football and academics at FCHS. He attended Duke on a football scholarship where he earned All-ACC and All-ACC Academic Team honors. Daniels played four seasons in the NFL, and he is currently an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Rams.
Daniels offered up a life lesson he got from Jeff Belwood, who is still a math teacher at FCHS. Daniels had never gotten a grade less than an A in his grade school career until he took Belwood’s advanced calculus course where he finished the fall semester with an 89.
“What was so great about Mr. Belwood was he challenged me. He really pushed me,” said Daniels, who was telling his former for the first time what he meant to him. “I truly do appreciate you challenging me in that classroom. I always try to find a way to turn losses into lessons.”
Daniels passed on the challenge to the Tigers, telling them to fight against complacency.
“Make sure whoever you’re sitting next to right now, tell your best friend, ‘Push me, challenge me, make me better,'” he said. “You’ve got to bring it every single day. Whatever it is, let’s make sure we stay locked in. Let’s challenge ourselves.”
The 2019 Distinguished Alumni inductees are Michael Burnett and Tracey King Schaller.
Burnett has been the Chief Executive Officer for Piedmont Fayette Hospital since 2014. He was named one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and he has led Fayette Piedmont as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades.
Schaller is currently Assistant Dean for Faculty Development & Diversity and Associate Professor of Marketing at Georgia Gwinnett College School of Business.
The Fayette County High School Distinguished Alumni and Sports Hall of Fame installed its first class in 1999 and currently has nearly 150 inductees.