Jamyra Hayes: From Wildcat Spirit to Co-Valedictorian at FVSU

Posted on May 09, 2024

Jamyra Hayes, born in the lively town of Columbus, GA, and raised in the serene community of Hamilton, GA, has emerged as a shining star among Fort Valley State University's Spring 2024 graduating class. 

Her narrative is one of persistence, driven by a strong connection to her family and a love for Fort Valley State University. Hayes, a Harris County High School graduate, was inspired to attend FVSU by her mother, Melissa Gates, who graduated from Fort Valley State College. She was raised in the strong traditions of FVSU, attending the yearly Fountain City Classic, and immersing herself in the Wildcat spirit. 

Hayes was drawn to FVSU not just because of familial links but also because she discovered a feeling of belonging and purpose within the historic campus. She made the courageous decision to follow in her mother's footsteps and begin her undergraduate career at FVSU, wanting to honor her family's tradition while also pursuing her very own aspirations. 

Her decision to join FVSU was a natural one, motivated by her love of music, education, and the pursuit of excellence. She was initially pulled to the attraction of the Blue Machine Marching Band, but she quickly became intrigued by FVSU's dynamic campus culture and the potential to excel academically. She set out to leave her imprint on the world one tune at a time, inspired by her mother's successful career in teaching and dreaming of becoming a middle grades educator. 

When Hayes thinks back on her time at FVSU, she remembers the good times she had with her friends, her band family, and the committed professors and staff who helped her along the way. She is appreciative of all the people who have shaped her journey, from her band director, Jonathan Thompson, Ed.D., whose guidance and encouragement have pushed her to achieve new heights, to her adviser, Michelle Drew, Ph.D., whose wise counsel and unfailing support have helped her overcome many difficulties. 

Hayes gives advice and encouragement to anyone thinking about becoming a part of the FVSU community, advising them to live up to the school's motto, "Empower the Possible." When she considers the exceptional distinction of being elected co-valedictorian with her fellow Wildcat, Elisha Cloy, she is overcome with humility and appreciation for the chance to acknowledge and celebrate the successes of two great people. 
Ultimately, Hayes’ journey is a celebration of the unbreakable Wildcat spirit, which knows no limitations and shines brightly in the hearts of everyone who calls FVSU home, rather than merely a monument to her academic prowess and unshakable persistence. 

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