Kaylee Brown believes home is where the heart is. She feels connected to the land, the animals, and the people of her home community, and once she graduates from college, she wants to move back home and teach youth about the importance of agriculture and the joys it holds.
"I want to come back to Madison County," she said. "I like the community here, and we all kind of support each other."
HireSmart Cares is helping make an ag-education career a reality for Kaylee, rewarding the 2023 high school graduate with a $1,000 scholarship to assist her at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). HireSmart funds numerous ag-related scholarships and initiatives to support a new generation of farmers and ag leaders who will feed the U.S. and the world in years to come.
Kaylee, the daughter of Ray and Suzanne Brown, said she's always been drawn to the outdoors. She hunts and fishes with her father and has enjoyed working with cattle. Her family has a couple of cow/calf pairs, and her uncle has a larger cattle operation, where she helps vaccinate the animals.
She also showed cows in livestock exhibits during high school, adding that the camaraderie among fellow show team members was special.
"It was like one big family," she said.
Kaylee wants to be like her former ag teacher, Kalie Blevins, who left education to run her company, Bold Spring Blooms. She said Blevins was caring, a wonderful instructor, and instrumental in getting her involved in floral design.
"Once she left, it really hit me how much she did for me and how she helped me break out of my comfort zone," said Kaylee. "I want to be that mentor one day for kids."
Kaylee expresses interest in teaching either middle school or high school, where she can help students as they explore what they want to do after grade school.
"We'll see," she said. "I'll just see where God takes me."
In her spare time, Kaylee enjoys music and singing in church. She also finds peace in making floral arrangements.
"It just calms me," said the recent graduate, who won floral competitions in high school.
Kaylee spent summer days between graduation and college babysitting six children between the ages of 2 and 9. Now, she's off to a new challenge. And she's grateful to HireSmart for making that road a little smoother.
"I want to thank you for helping make it possible for me to pursue my dream of becoming an ag teacher," she wrote in a "thank you" letter. "Your contribution to my education is so generous and will allow me to focus on my studies."
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