Father and daughter to sing national anthem for AJC Peachtree Road Race

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The winners of this year's "Oh, Say Can You Sing" contest are a Mikey Jones and his daughter, Nimaya Jones. Jones, a ninth-grade literature teacher at Robert Alexander High School, will be the voice you hear on the race's app. Ten-year-old Nimaya will be singing the anthem for those running the AJC Peachtree Junior. Nimaya attends Hiram Elementary School and performed the anthem for the school's Martin Luther King Jr. assembly this year. All race participants can download the app for free so they can play the anthems before they begin their runs

The AJC Peachtree Road Race has been a family affair for decades, and this year will be no different, with one father and daughter participating in their first race. They aren’t running, though. They’ll be inspiring you.

If you’ve ever run the world’s largest 10K, you likely have a photo of the huge American flag flying above the crowd as the national anthem is sung to start the race.

Because the race is virtual this year to keep everyone safer during the coronavirus pandemic, there won’t be a huge flag. Everyone will be able to play the same version of the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” however.

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There are actually two national anthems: one for the AJC Peachtree Junior and the other for the main run. This year, those anthems will be sung by Mikey Jones and his daughter, Nimaya Jones.

Jones said it feels great to know thousands of people around the world will hear him sing. “I am forever grateful and humbled that my daughter and I get to participate and take part in such an amazing opportunity,” he added.

Jones, who teaches ninth-grade literature at Robert Alexander High School, said he often sings the anthem before the school’s football games “and any events that call for the national anthem to be sung.”

His largest audience was performing at an Atlanta Hawks game in 2016.

“As opportunities like this present themselves, I love to take full advantage of them,” Jones said. “A friend of mine recommended that I send in a video to the Hawks organization to sing, and they picked me for that specific game. It was such an honor.”

Nimaya is no stranger to performing, either, having sung the national anthem at Hiram Elementary School’s assembly for Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year.

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“I love to sing, and when my dad told me about the junior contest I was excited to enter and show my talent,” the 10-year-old said.

Nimaya and her dad both entered the race’s “Oh, Say Can You Sing?” contest, held by 11 Alive. The news station whittled down all the video submissions to five finalists for the adults and four for the juniors.

Then it was up to the public, who voted for the winners.

“(My classmates) were surprised and giving me virtual applause,” Nimaya said. “My teacher had me sing the song for my class, and said, ‘Play ball.’ "

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Mikey Jones said his school had the same reaction.

“My students and faculty and staff were very excited about not only myself, but my daughter as well,” he said. “They have been so supportive and genuine with their love and support.”

Their performances will be on the AJC Peachtree Road Race App, which is a free download for all race participants. The Joneses don’t sing just the anthem, however.

Nimaya said she’s been singing since age 3. “My mom has a video of me making up words to one of my favorite church songs on a T.D. Jakes worship album. The sound was there, but I didn’t know the words.”

And her dad said he’s always loved to use his voice to minister to others.

The duo are joining their talents for an EP of music that inspires others to never give up on their dreams. Jones said he hopes it will be ready after the first of the year.

This won’t be Jones’ first EP, either. “I Win” can be purchased on Amazon or Apple Music.

Nimaya said she is “excited and ready for the world to hear me sing.”

“I am so grateful that my school, teachers, family and friends voted for me,” she said. “I want to thank my dad for helping me follow my dreams.”

AJC Peachtree Road Race

Annual 10K begins 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, and ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29. If you want to be included on the leaderboard, you have to finish your run on Thanksgiving Day.

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