AndrÃ© Davis, the only Niskayuna High School graduate to play in the NFL who went
on to help build schools in war-torn Rwanda, was inducted into the high schoolâ€™s
Hall of Fame on June 26.
The Hall of Fame induction takes place each year as part of the Niskayuna High School graduation ceremony at Proctorâ€™s Theatre. Davis is the 61st member of the Hall of Fame, established in 1983.
"AndrÃ© has made Niskayuna and our high school proud on the field, on the track, and with his work in communities at home and abroad,â€� Niskayuna High School Principal John Rickert said. "We are pleased to welcome him to the Hall of Fame. It has always been our hope that today's students find inspiration, encouragement, and individuals worthy of emulation in the inductees, and AndrÃ© is a fine role model for them.â€�
Davis was a key player on the only Niskayuna team to reach the Section 2
football championship game appearance in 1996. That spring, he was a New York
State Champion in track and field.
He went to Virginia Tech on a scholarship the next fall. In 1999, he become the only Niskayuna graduate to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and the next year he played in the NCAA championship football game versus Florida State.
Davis was drafted by the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, and later played with the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and Houston Texans. Among his NFL accomplishments, Mr. Davis caught the longest touchdown in Cleveland Browns' history (99 yards), which tied him for the NFL record, and had the longest kickoff return in Houston Texans' history (104 yards).
Mr. Davis has been well known for his work off the field, as well, which took on an even greater focus when he retired from football after nine season. In 2012, he joined Africa New Life Ministries, and through his efforts, the organization provided funding for health care and education in the country of Rwanda. Two schools he helped establish have been named school of excellence in the country.
In the summer of 2009, Davis returned home to volunteer his time at the AndrÃ© Davis Football Camp. This camp was a day-long event that was open to all Niskayuna kids of all ages. He provided direct instruction and mentoring at this camp, and stayed after to sign autographs for every child and community member.
Davis was also honored with the first Niskayuna Youth-to-Youth Community Role Model Award in 2000.
Board of Education Vice President Debra Gordon introduced Mr. Davis at the graduation ceremony. In keeping with Niskayuna High School tradition, he delivered the commencement address.