He's known for influencing the lives of his students and helping them reach their full potential. That's what Columbia County Commissioner and farmer Lee Anderson said about his former agriculture teacher, Tom Whitfield.
Tom Whitfield (second from right), a Harlem resident and retired agriculture teacher, stands with former students Columbia County Commissioner Lee Anderson (from left), Chuck Anderson and Larry Moore after being inducted into the Georgia Agriculture Education Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held Jan. 7 at the Georgia FFA Center in Covington.
"He could always look at a student, evaluate them, see what their abilities were and get them to maximize their ability," said Anderson, adding that Whitfield helped him further his education at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. "He was one of my mentors when I was coming up in school. He could help a child go a long way."
It was because of Whitfield's dedication and concern for people, Anderson said, that he and a few other former students wrote letters of recommendation nominating Whitfield as a candidate in the Georgia Agriculture Education Hall of Fame.
On Jan. 7, Whitfield, a Harlem resident, was initiated into the hall of fame for his service in teaching agriculture to youths and adults in the state.
"I'm really honored by it," Whitfield said.
He received an associate's degree from Abraham Baldwin and bachelor's and master's degrees of agriculture education from the University of Georgia. He began his teaching career working with the Veterans Farm Program and soon became a vocational agriculture instructor at Harlem High School after teaching at Guyton High School, near Savannah, Ga., for two years.
The late Ernest Lamar Partridge also was inducted into the hall of fame.
Partridge, who was an Appling resident and an alumnus of the University of Georgia, received numerous degrees, including a bachelor's of science in agriculture in 1947, a master's of education in 1954 and a specialist's degree in agriculture education in 1964.
Whitfield's career in agriculture education spanned nearly 40 years. He at Walton County High, Walker Park Junior High, Good Hope Junior High, North Habersham High and Gilmer County High schools.
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