ATC leader will be honorary Super Bowl Captain
Fabersha Flynt, a 2021 Pat Tillman Foundation scholar and administrator at Athens Technical College, will be one of four honorary Super Bowl LVII Captains this year in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday, Feb. 12.
The announcement to the Tillman scholars took place via a surprise Zoom call with NFL member J.J. Watt, which can be viewed here.
“I was shocked, first of all,” said Flynt. “In my mind, I thought we were meeting with an investor because that was what we were told.”
Flynt is traveling to the game along with her son, and will also appear in a video spotlighting the Tillman scholars prior to the 6:30 p.m. (EST) kickoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
Pivoting after tragedy
A native of Athens, Georgia, Flynt married her husband, Staff Sgt. Bryan A. Lewis in 2005. Tragedy struck Flynt’s life when her husband was killed in March 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Through her unfathomable loss, Flynt found her purpose in helping others in higher education.
“When I started graduate school at Ole Miss, the plan was for me to teach on the collegiate level, and I wanted to teach Black American studies,” Flynt explained. “Once Bryan died, that all changed. I totally flipped the script, and then I went and got a master’s in education. I taught in secondary education and it just wasn’t for me – I missed being in higher ed. It was really once I came to Athens Tech, I knew that I wanted to be in something at the administrative level in order to make the change I wanted to make. And not that I couldn’t as an instructor, but I felt like I would have a greater voice as an administrator.”
Now as the executive director of adult education and the Walton County Campus at Athens Technical College, Flynt oversees all high school equivalency instruction and GED testing for the 11-county service area as well as the operations of the College’s Monroe campus.
Flynt has made it her mission to help traditionally underserved and underrepresented students pursue their educational goals. “I love the days when faculty call me and tell me we have a GED completion, and I love the days when students come and have an opportunity to change their life after obtaining their high school equivalency,” she said.
ATC President Andrea Daniel expressed her appreciation and support for Flynt as an employee and Tillman scholar. “Fabersha Flynt is an outstanding and dedicated employee of Athens Technical College, and we will all be cheering her on by watching from home,” said Daniel. “She is a shining example of perseverance and continues to grow in leadership positions at the college. I am delighted she is getting national recognition for her accomplishments.”
By pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education Administration at the University of Southern Mississippi through her scholarship from the Pat Tillman Foundation, Flynt will use relevant strategies to help give voice to the need for educational equality and its significance in providing “liberty and justice for all” within higher education and beyond.
“I probably should have applied [for the Tillman scholarship] a long time ago, but when I knew that I was going to go to graduate school, I was like I’m going to apply for this,” Flynt said. “My aspiration is to be a college President, and I knew I wanted to be in a leadership program to help me. They’re cultivating you to being a dynamic leader, and that’s what attracted me to be a part of that.”
Flynt hopes the limelight at the game will increase awareness about the Tillman scholars and their work.
“I think the biggest thing for me is that it’s going to bring a lot of attention to our community of leaders. All the Tillman scholars are doing big things – they’re lawyers, doctors, astronauts, educators – these are people that are really making a footprint in the world. Of the more than 800 of us, we’re making a huge impact in the world. Being part of a community like that says a lot about what they think about me and what I should be thinking of myself. I’m thinking, ‘what did I do to deserve this?’”
About the Tillman Foundation
In 2002, inspired by the September 11th attacks, Tillman placed his NFL career on hold to enlist in the U.S. Army for a three-year term. He tragically lost his life on April 22, 2004, in Afghanistan. Marie Tillman Shenton, with other friends and family, started the Pat Tillman Foundation to carry forward his legacy by giving military service members, veterans and spouses who embody Tillman’s values educational support, leadership development, and a supportive community of mentors and peers to help them grow into the next generation of leaders, no matter how they choose to serve.
The Pat Tillman Foundation is one of the NFL’s Salute to Service partners and together honors leaders from military families and backgrounds through scholarships. The NFL partners with the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides more than $24 million in academic scholarships, lifelong leadership development, and community to more than 800 Tillman Scholars. Salute to Service is the NFL’s year-long initiative to honor, empower, and connect our nation’s service members, veterans, and their families.
“Pat Tillman made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and we are committed to ensuring that his life and legacy are forever honored and celebrated across the entire NFL family,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a press release. “Pat loved football, but most importantly, he was grounded in service to others and making a difference in this world. We are so proud of the Tillman Foundation and the Tillman Scholar’s program whose mission is to help leaders make real change. These four Tillman Scholars have done just that and we are honored to have them join us on the field to represent the Pat Tillman Foundation as this year’s coin toss captains.”