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Savanaha Campbell’s life is expressed on the farm and on canvas.
Last month, the junior participated with the Central Hardin FFA in a clean-up effort at University Drive Park. Her part in the project was to paint a mural on a dugout that had been defaced with graffiti. Other students put a fresh coat of paint on dugouts and cleaned up garbage in the park.
She was glad to be a part of a project that seemed to be deeply appreciated.
For her mural, she drew from her experiences growing up in rural Hardin County. Growing up on a farm, there wasn’t always a nice park like this nearby, she said. Baseball is a big part of her father’s life and when she was younger she would play as an outlet during her spare time.
“I wanted to depict people in a rural setting doing the same things as those in a more urban setting,” she said.
The landscape portion of the mural is in place but she is still working on adding the children playing in the space.
She shares a love of painting with her mother who died in 2013 and thinks her mother would be proud of what she is doing through her painting.
“We always sang and we always painted,” she said.
She connects her artwork back to the farm. The family’s property has a creek and holler with waterfalls and she goes there to paint. Campbell paints mostly landscapes with cabins and old-style houses. It’s something she just knows how to do and said she learned most of her techniques from her mom.
On the farm, she does everything that needs to be done, she said. The family raises 36 acres of tobacco and has cattle. She starts working in tobacco starting in late March until late November setting, cutting, stripping and hanging tobacco.
“Since I was a 6-year-old girl, I have always had a place on the farm and that’s something I hope to carry on to my children,” she said.
She’s an only child but has seven cousins, all girls.
“We’ve had to grow up tough and learn how to work with the boys,” she said.
While working in tobacco is a chore for some, she enjoys it. It’s a passion she shares with her father, Glenn.
“I appreciate everything I’ve gotten out of it and every drop of sweat I’ve put into it,” she said.
It’s a time she can bond with her dad who let her ride on the tractor when she was little and later taught her to drive it. She said he is giving his knowledge to her so that one day she can work the land too.
“It’s such a rewarding factor, once you realize you are almost done stripping it (tobacco) and getting ready to take it off to market,” she said.
There’s isn’t as many tobacco farms as there used to be and Campbell said she is a fifth-generation tobacco farmer in her family.
“Farming has taught me hard work, diligence and it’s taught me to be true to what I know how to do,” she said.
It also taught her to encourage others and to appreciate what she has because she knows how hard work benefits someone, she said.
People often think farmers are closed minded and can’t relate to other people, she said.
“It’s because it’s a stereotype that’s been given to people who are more rural,” Campbell said.
That stereotype is wrong, she said. Just because someone lives in one place doesn’t mean their minds are not broadened to knowledge of other places and things.
After she graduates, she hopes to attend Murray State University and then Auburn University for veterinary medicine. She wants to work with cattle in an outdoor setting because farm animals are something she grew up with. She knows that many clinics are moving toward small animals and away from large animal veterinary medicine. She hopes to come back home, to stay close to the farm and work in a profession that keeps her close to her roots.
Right now she’s focused on her farming, grade point average, getting all the housework done at home and working on scholarships.
“I’m just trying the best I can to better my future,” Campbell said.
Her FFA adviser, Derek Smith, said she is one of the most “creative and caring” students he knows. He said she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty which is evident in how she helps with her family tobacco farm.
“She gives 110 percent in whatever she does,” he said. “She devotes an incredible amount of time to help others without looking for anything in return.”
He described her as the glue that keeps their chapter together
“Some of our officers refer to her as the mom of the group,” he said.
Agriculture instructor Jayna Thompson said Campbell's positive attitude and caring nature are "vital assets" to Central's FFA.
"She has been faced with more obstacles in this life than I have and has handled them extremely well," she said. "This world needs more Savanahas."
Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting to know Savanaha Campbell:
Pet: A 33-year-old horse named Cocoa that eats cupcakes and donuts.
Music: Country music
Hobby: Hunting, she got a 10-pointer last season and is waiting for it to come back from mounting.
School: She wants to go to Murray State University for pre-vet and then Auburn University.
Contest: She once won the talent contest of Little Miss Kentucky
FFA: She will serve as chapter vice president for the 2014-2015 school year.