The Nick Blakely Scholarship: Our 2018 Scholars

2018 was the inaugural year for our scholarship. We are happy to have attracted more than 60 candidates from all backgrounds, nation-wide. They all have a compelling desire to pursue higher education and are committed to leaving a positive impact on their communities, and making a difference in the world through their professions, charitable contributions, social and environmental causes, commitment to faith, etc. Congratulations to our 2018 scholars!



Gwinnett Football League: Nick Blakely Scholarship 2018

Each year the GFL recognizes and awards outstanding high school seniors who have participated in the GFL as a participant. We are proud that Matt Nails received the Gwinnett Football League's (GFL) Nick Blakely Scholarship.

The Nick Blakely Scholarship

The Nick Blakely Scholarship provides an annual scholarship for qualified high school seniors pursuing an academic degree in higher education. When Nick Blakely passed in 2017, his mother, Michelle Fields-Wilson, chose to memorialize her son by establishing a fund at Smiling Hearts in his honor.

Nick attended Archer High School in Georgia, where he excelled as both a student and an athlete. He was a three-year letter winner in football; playing both running back and safety. He helped Archer to a 33-7 record over three seasons. He also competed on the basketball and track teams, primarily in the 4x400m relay.

Nick chose to attend Stetson University for his college education; having been recruited by the school for football. Math was always Nick's favorite subject, so it was only natural that he selected accounting as his major. As a member of Stetson's football team, Nick switched positions to linebacker and was redshirted his freshman year.


Although he passed just days before what would have been his first college football game, he was remembered by his college coach and teammates as the "ultimate competitor".

Nick was not only an all-star, talented athlete; but most importantly, he was an honor student always maintaining a 3.0 GPA or better throughout high school and in his first year in college. It is in the spirit of Nick's accomplishments throughout his studies that Smiling Hearts was conceived.

The private foundation’s annual awards and scholarship celebrate his life as a student, athlete, and humanitarian. Meanwhile, The Nick Blakely Scholarship at Smiling Hearts makes it possible for high school students to receive scholarship assistance in pursuit of their academic degree.