Still going strong


Hayes wasn’t legally adopted because he was almost 18 when the Harris’s took him into their family. In 2005, Elizabeth was only 10 years old and loved having a non biological brother.

Micah Hayes, Decatur’s weight trainer, was literally living in his gym a few years ago, now, he’s business owner.

Hayes’ path to success was not easy. When he was 16 years old, junior Elizabeth Harris’ family adopted him.

“It was easy because I went to the same church as them and I helped Aaron [Elizabeth’s older brother] through tough times,” Hayes said.

Living with the Harris’s gave Hayes a new outlook on life.

“They took me on experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to do with my biological parents,” he said. Before moving in with the Harris’, life wasn’t easy for him.

“[My family] didn’t have any money,” he said. “The Harris’ helped me make better decisions in life.”

Elizabeth Harris loved growing up with Hayes.

“When he lived next door to my room, I would always end up in his room cracking jokes or watching cartoons. He even tried to teach me basketball,” Elizabeth said. “Even though he is not my biological brother, it seems like he is.”

Hayes graduated from Decatur in 2005, then went to Emmanuel College in Georgia on a basketball scholarship. While at Emmanuel, Hayes envisioned a career working in a hospital. Over time, he realized that it wasn’t meant for him. He set his sights on opening up his own gym and becoming a weight trainer for Decatur High School’s athletic teams.

Hayes comes to Decatur five days a week to work with student athletes. He also is a mentor to students, even though he may not realize it. Sophomore Lang Rodgers benefits from Hayes in many ways.

“He gets me in great shape and prepares me mentally for on and off the field,” Rodgers said.

Senior Simeon Johnson agrees.

“Coach Hayes has turned me into a beast,” Johnson said.

Senior Brett Riley thinks Hayes is a great addition to Decatur.

“Ever since he started mentoring, motivating and training athletes, I feel like the work ethic of student athletes has grown exponentially,” Riley said.

Along with working out Decatur’s athletic teams, Hayes fulfilled his other dream by opening up his own gym – The Sweatbox, located on East College Ave. In order to start up his business, Hayes needed money.

According to Scott Sahne’s “Illusions of Entrepreneurship,” in 2008, the

Even though Hayes doesn’t live with the Harris’s anymore, they still talk daily
Even though Hayes doesn’t live with the Harris’s anymore, they still talk daily

average cost for starting a business was $24,920.

“I worked at my wife’s restaurant everyday for eight months straight so I could get enough money for the gym,” Hayes said.

The Sweatbox has been open for three years. Sophomore Stewart Oxley has worked out at The Sweatbox a couple times with Hayes and teammates from the lacrosse team.

“It’s a great sized gym and doesn’t feel overcrowded at all. He has the best workout music and great workout equipment,” Oxley said.

Having a good education also helps in the long run of maintaining a successful business. According to Illusions of Entrepreneurship, on average, start-ups founded by college graduates have 25 percent greater sales than those founded by high school dropouts. Having a graduate degree earns about 40 percent more than having a undergraduate degree.

Robert Gemmell, assistant principal and director of the Herman J. Russell International Center for Entrepreneurship, thinks it’s crucial for an entrepreneur to really love what they are doing.

“Relentlessness, determination and selfbelief gets them through the difficult early stages,” Gemmel said. “Being an entrepreneur is a great way to have a job you really love and to have the kind of independence most people desire.”

Hannah Harris, Elizabeth’s mom, is very glad they brought Hayes into their life.

“He was a very smart kid who just needed a little more security in order to reach his potential,” Hannah said.

“I’m so thankful that he is a part of my life,” Elizabeth said