Fulfilling a dream, pursuing an opportunity

Published By: ChaNaè Bradley May 7, 2024

Linda Hamilton, agriculture educator, serves students at the Southwest Georgia College and Career Academy at Mitchell County High School in Camilla, Georgia.

Year after year, students from across the globe come to the United States to pursue a college degree and fulfill their educational and professional dreams.

Linda Hamilton was one of those students. A native of Ladyville, Belize, Hamilton traveled from her home country and matriculated to Fort Valley State University (FVSU).  In the fall 2017, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education.

Since 2018, Hamilton has taught agriculture at Southwest Georgia College and Career Academy at Mitchell County High School in Camilla, Georgia.

“In addition to teaching the curriculum and managing greenhouse activities, I also take on the role of Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor for the Mitchell County FFA Chapter,” the FVSU alumna said.

“This multifaceted position involves not only guiding students through their academic journey, but also preparing them for various competitions, honing their skills and fostering their growth beyond the classroom,” Hamilton said.


Interestingly, Hamilton initially wanted to pursue a career in education, but it wasn’t in agriculture. She was studying to become an English teacher at the University of Belize, but thanks to her family having close ties with an FVSU professor, Dr. Eugene Amoah, her dream of coming to the U.S. and pursuing a college degree fell into place.

Amoah, now a retired animal science instructor and his wife Minerva, are close friends of Hamilton’s family.

“My aunt, who worked with Mrs. Amoah, contacted me and asked if I was interested in studying in the U.S. Without even thinking, I said yes! Since it was through Dr. Amoah that I was being recruited, my grandfather insisted that I pick an agricultural major. I was a bit hesitant since it wasn’t my first choice, but my strong desire to come to the U.S. led me to choose agricultural education, aligning with my goal of becoming a teacher,” Hamilton said.

After enrolling at FVSU, Hamilton started attending classes and immediately fell at ease with her decision.

“It truly felt like a family in all my classes. Every professor seemed genuinely dedicated to our learning and success. I wholeheartedly rate my undergraduate experience a perfect 10.”

While attending classes, Hamilton relied on the advice of Amoah and retired FVSU agricultural education professor Dr. Curtis Borne. “Dr. Amoah is like an uncle to me, and I would often drop by his office to discuss my grades and tell him how my classes were going. Dr. Borne served as my academic advisor and professor, and he encouraged me to stay in the field of agricultural education,” she said.

While pursuing her studies, Hamilton also enjoyed the life of a typical college student. She said some of her best memories come from meeting and hanging out with friends.

“I’m lucky to still be close with most of them,” she said. She also found time to join the FVSU Valley Girls, a campus community service organization. Hamilton also became an active member of the Student Government Association serving as director of student parking and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

To prepare herself for a career in agricultural education, Hamilton completed her student teaching at Perry High School in Perry, Georgia.

“I found the experience to be truly wonderful. Working alongside Mrs. Ashley Denton, I was able to absorb a wealth of knowledge in the limited time we had together,” Hamilton said.

As an agricultural educator, Hamilton says teaching outside of the classroom allows her to build connections with students, making the experience truly special.

“Unlike an English teacher or other educators, being an ag teacher lets me engage with students in various settings. From after-school meetings, competitions and even traveling to Macon for a two-night trip to the state convention, I’m with my students every step of the way. To many of them, I’m their ‘school mom’, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be a role model they can look up to,” she said.

Furthermore, Hamilton said her enthusiasm and cheerfulness grabs students’ attention which keeps them engaged in the field of agriculture. 

“I like to use a lot of hands-on and real-life activities in my lessons. For example, when I teach about agribusiness, playing a game of Monopoly is a fun way to keep the students interested,” she said.

Hamilton’s advice to a student seeking an agricultural degree at FVSU is to go for it.  “Personally, I believe that FVSU has the absolute best agricultural program in Georgia. I might be a bit biased, but I always encourage my students to attend FVSU.”