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Fort Dale athletes immortalized in wall-spanning photo collage

“A champion is simply someone who did not give up when he wanted to.”

“There is no substitute for work.”

“Success is never permanent, and failure is never final.”

These are all common refrains often heard inside any high school field house, but Fort Dale Academy has gone the extra mile by immortalizing those expressions, as well as a number of FDA football players, in a photo collage that spans two field house walls and a decade of memories made on the gridiron.

The project, visible from both the left and the right of the field house’s central entrance, was funded by memorial gifts donated in memory of Perry Singleton, a 2012 Fort Dale graduate and former football player who lost his life a year ago last week.

Fort Dale Academy headmaster David Brantley said that the project’s aim was to inspire the players and coaches who would see it each day, as well as the student body as a whole.

“It was our goal to make that area more attractive and something that could be inspiring to our students who are involved in football,” Brantley said.

“We think this pays tribute to not only the guys whose pictures may be on the wall, but to all of our former student-athletes who played on our football teams.”

Every student on Fort Dale’s campus had an opportunity to walk the field house hallways and witness the collage this week.

“And hopefully this motivates them to want to be involved, but mostly we hope it will motivate them to be better students and see some very positive things about our school from an athletic standpoint,” Brantley added.

The photo collage has been well received, to say the least, according to Brantley.  The headmaster said the school saw a “tremendous” response from teachers, students, athletes, parents and former athletes.

The collage coincided not only with Fort Dale’s homecoming celebration, but also the zenith of what has been a noteworthy season for the Eagles. 

For the first time in four years, Fort Dale will host the first round of the playoffs as the team preps to face Bessemer Academy.

With football fever at an all-time high, the collage becomes an even more attractive addition.

But the final and most significant inscription is perhaps the most appropriate Bible verse possible—Isaiah 40:31.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

“They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”