Garnering widespread recognition and winning a prestigious award for their work on and off the field is no easy task for any athlete, especially at the age of 17. But Lassiter High School Senior Shaw Mixon accomplished just that by diligently devoting his time and efforts towards his own greatest passions. In February 2024, Mixon was presented with the Atlanta Falcons 2023 High School Man of the Year award for his time on the football field and his extracurricular volunteer work devoted to community service and mental health advocacy.  

According to the Falcons’ announcement, he “embodies leadership and selflessness at Lassiter High School”. The three-year varsity football starter was surprised when he first heard his name called after the award title. 

“During the awards ceremony, honestly, I didn’t think I was going to win. I even told my mom sitting next to me that I didn’t think I was going to win,” Mixon said. “And you know when they announced my name, I was completely shocked, humbled and just shocked that I won the award.” 

However, Mixon’s journey to receiving this award did not come without its fair share of personal struggles and challenges. In 2022, his father passed away during his sophomore year. Along with this loss, he received a season-ending injury. But it was because of hardships like these that he decided to become involved with helping his own community through charitable organizations while advocating for the importance of mental health after experiencing his own difficulties. 

“I was in a few clubs. I wasn’t really involved in the community. And when my dad passed away, the community gave me a lot. They provided meals for my family  and support,” Mixon said. “I think since then, I decided  that I need to give back to the community whenever I  get a chance…I just think that it’s all about giving back.” 

For children with problems like his own, Mixon works  with the Joy Mission Club. The non-profit organization  helps elementary school kids experiencing personal  tragedies such as the loss of a loved one. This involves  eating lunch together or playing with them before school  to help shift the focus away from their struggles. He also  works with Sources of Strength, a club focused on restoring mental health and suicide prevention.  

“So, most of what I’ve learned about mental health  is from first-hand experience with [Social Strength],” Mixon said. “It affects everybody every day… spirituality,  talking to people, and physical activity are probably the  three best ways for dealing with mental health.” 

With a bright future ahead of him and a 4.5 GPA,  Mixon was recently accepted into the University of  Georgia to study biochemistry and molecular biology. He  has made the decision to put his studies above athletics.  When asked if he will continue his time playing football  and basketball, he simply replied, “I think I’m going to try  and walk on my sophomore year on the football team.”  


Written by By Adam Darby