SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Army News Service, Jan. 2, 2009) -- This summer, Master Sgt. Fotini Nixon will pack her son up for his first year at college -- a momentous occasion for any parent.

This summer will also mark a moment of great pride for her son Xavier Nixon, who will see his mother off as she heads back to school herself.

As one of the top-ranked offensive tackles in this year's senior class of high school football players, Xavier will arrive on campus with a little more fanfare than your average freshman. And as one of the Army's standout noncommissioned officers, Master Sgt. Nixon will enjoy her own accolades as she begins her studies at the prestigious Sergeants Major Academy -- a school which Soldiers must be selected to attend.

Both mother and son will be honored for their courage and dedication on the playing field and on the battlefield this weekend during the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. As the premier national football game featuring the country's best high school football players, the All-American Bowl will feature a series of events showcasing the ideals of leadership, courage and strength that these elite athletes and Soldiers live by.

Xavier is a 2009 U.S. Army All-American Player of the Year Finalist and will participate in the All-American Bowl. He played as an offensive lineman at Jack Britt High, Fayetteville, N.C.

A true Army Strong family, the Nixons will also celebrate this week with the return of Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Nixon, Sr., Master Sgt. Nixon's husband and Xavier's father. Command Sgt. Maj. Nixon is back in the states on leave from Afghanistan and will be honored alongside his wife as one of the Army's Soldier Heroes at the All-American Bowl.

Master Sgt. Nixon's life and Army career have been built upon the values of hard work, dedication to mission and honor above all. The oldest of six children, she moved often as her stepfather's military career took her family to many cities. She attended high school in Chicago before joining the Army. Having watched her stepfather's military career, Master Sgt. Nixon knew the Army would provide unique opportunities and training and a chance to make a difference in her life and the lives of others.

Over the past 23 years, her Army service has put her in many leadership roles. When Master Sgt. Nixon deployed to Iraq in 2005, she served as the First Sergeant for A Company, 18th Personnel Services Battalion. Her unit was responsible for providing personnel service support, postal operations and replacement operations for the 3,000 Soldiers stationed at Camp Taji, Iraq. She encountered enemy fire several times during her deployment, but credits her Army training with preparing her to be a strong and confident leader at all times.

Master Sgt. Nixon received the Bronze Star Medal for her service in Iraq and was recently selected for promotion to E-9, the highest enlisted rank. Next fall, she will expand her leadership skills at the Army's Sergeants Major Academy.

Master Sgt. Nixon and Command Sgt. Maj. Nixon live in Fayetteville, N.C. and have a combined 50 years of service in the Army. Xavier Nixon attends Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville and will graduate in June 2009. He will declare which college he will attend at this Saturday's All-American Bowl game.

Xavier said growing up in a dual-military household was tough, but he's been able to transfer some of the discipline his parents brought home from the Army to his game on the field.

"Both of my parents were drill sergeants while I was growing up in my early stages of life," Nixon said. "It just provided structure and discipline in my life, and all the things that later on allowed me to be a great leader for my team, for my school, for my community -- and to just be a great role model."