Fort Valley State University’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology students put their best foot forward at the recent 2019 Agri-Demic Forum Awards Banquet.
Faculty, staff, family members and friends gathered in the C.W. Pettigrew Center to honor more than 80 undergraduate and graduate students for earning a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or above. Dr. James Brown, Agri-Demic Forum adviser, said the awards banquet is an opportunity for students to receive recognition for their hard work and for faculty to show appreciation.
Sophomore Gabrielle Lindo, 20, of Snellville, Georgia, earned the Ira Hicks Outstanding Agricultural Education Major Award and Outstanding Service Award. Criteria for the award are based on GPA, scores on the Teachers Certification Test and participation with the Future Farmers of America (FFA).
Lindo said she was shocked but honored by the recognition. “I put a lot of work into this, so I’m very grateful for this award,” she said.
Originally from Jamaica, her grandparents, an agriculturist and a retired educator, inspired her to pursue a career in agricultural education. Lindo said following graduation, she wants to continue her education and eventually teach high school and then at the college level.
Other acknowledgements included the FVSU Agricultural Alumni Association presenting a new award this year to senior agricultural economics major Maya Gardner.
Fanisha Maze, president of the FVSU Agricultural Alumni Association, said they are offering the Ag Involvement Award annually to bridge the gap between undergraduate students and alumni to gain more members and participation.
Because the award highlights student involvement, Maze said it was only fitting for Gardner to receive the honor and a $200 stipend.
“Maya has given so much of her time,” she said. The criteria are based on undergraduate students who are nearing graduation and their involvement in the FVSU Agricultural Alumni Association.
Gardner said it’s an honor to be the first recipient of the Ag Involvement Award. The 22-year-old has been volunteering her time with the organization since her freshman year, helping the officers with various tasks.
“I do not do things for recognition. I do it to get experience and because it’s the right thing to do,” Gardner said. The Terrell County, Georgia, native looks forward to working this summer through an internship with Land O’Lakes in California.
Additionally, Dr. Archie Williams, head of FVSU’s Department of Engineering Technology, served as the guest speaker. He talked about his long history with then Fort Valley State College as a student and as the son of parents who are also graduates.
Williams said reality hit him in the face when he became a college student. “There were a lot of things that I thought I knew that I really didn’t know as a young man,” he said.
The FVSC graduate said after sitting out for a year and working, the 1890 Land-Grant Institution became his second chance. “I had a different attitude, a new step and a different walk,” Williams said. “Doing it the old way was not going to cut it.”
He also praised the faculty and staff for their encouragement. “If you have the desire and will to persist and keep striving toward your goals, you can make it,” he said.
As a professor at his alma mater, Williams said it brings joy to his heart to see students succeed and get back up from their failures. “That’s the reason why I do what I do every day,” he said. He encouraged students to believe in themselves and to not let anyone steal their dreams away.