Valdosta Daily Times

School News

April 10, 2014

Rhett Akins named as 2014 Lowndes Distinguished Alumnus

LOWNDES — The Lowndes Education Improvement Foundation (LEIF) will be hosting its Annual Distinguished Alumnus and Awards Banquet on April 22 at 6 p.m. in the Lowndes High School cafeteria. Saint Augustine Road and Lake Park Chick Fil A and Cheddar’s are the presenting sponsors for the banquet. 

Country music singer and song writer Rhett Akins will be honored as the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus.  A 1988 graduate of Lowndes High School, Akins attended Parker Mathis Elementary and Lowndes Middle.  Throughout his enrollment in Lowndes County Schools, Akins excelled in academics and sports.  He was an honor roll student with English and History being his strongest subjects.  His high school activities included Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Key Club, Spanish Club, Senior Class Vice President, baseball, football, and track.  Under the direction of coaches Joe Wilson and Ronnie Pitcock, Rhett was the starting quarterback for the Vikings for two years, often playing the guitar in the locker room and at football camp.  On more than one occasion Coach Wilson scolded him saying, “Put that thing up!  That guitar is not gonna get you anywhere.”        

     After graduating from Lowndes High, Rhett enrolled at the University of Georgia and played football as a walk on.  Following college, he followed his passion and moved to Nashville where he began writing songs, obtained a record contract and began touring with Reba McIntire.  He has recorded five studio albums of which he wrote the majority of the songs.  His signature song, “That Ain’t My Truck”, went gold and was inspired by his dating experience at Lowndes High School.  Most of the songs Rhett has written have been based on his upbringing in South Georgia and his southern heritage.

His success in the music industry has given Rhett the opportunity to be a spokesman for numerous organizations including Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of America, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Fallen Policeman among others.  Rhett and a fellow Valdostan were the founders of Country Goes Hunting, a charitable organization that has raised thousands of dollars over the past thirteen years.  The money raised has helped a wide range of people in need from the tornado victims of Alabama to disabled hunters.  Most recently Rhett has begun writing for other country music artists including Brooks and Dunn, Blake Shelton, and Tim McGraw.  Over the past five years, he has written numerous songs that hit the top of the charts and have garnered him many awards included BMI song writer of the year, the Triple Play Award, and a nomination for the American Country Music song writer of the year.  Rhett lives in Nashville and has children – Thomas Rhett and Kasey.  Thomas Rhett is following in his father’s footsteps and is quickly making a name for himself in country music.

LEIF will also be honoring students from each school for their academic achievements, as well as outstanding parents and teachers.  The foundation’s main goal is to support Lowndes County Schools by utilizing tax-deductible donations to provide improved educational opportunities for students within the school systems.  Tickets for the banquet may be purchased for $20 at the Board of Education office located at 1592 Norman Drive.  All proceeds of the event will benefit LEIF.

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