By Aubry Bracco, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, July 5, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
HAMPTON -- It’s not every day you run across someone who is as modest and gifted as Christina Hamilton.
To keep herself on track, the 25 year-old always wears a silver bracelet which bears the word "compassion" on her wrist.
"It’s my reminder," she explained.
Not that Hamilton needs any reminders.
She never advertises her accomplishments: "They’re nothing to write home about," Hamilton said. But her achievements speak for themselves. The eighth grade teacher at Hampton Academy Junior High, who just completed her second academic year at the school, has begun to leave her mark.
Hamilton has already directed the chorus, served as student council adviser, organized a Memorial Day tribute, helped facilitate a book drive and assisted students who baked cookies and sent the care packages to soldiers in Iraq. During the summer months, she will be busy teaching summer school.
"I think I knew I always wanted to teach," said Hamilton, who holds a Bachelors degree in History and a Masters in Education from the University of New Hampshire.
Though she has to meet curricular benchmarks, Hamilton said she has "a lot of freedom" and can often "just go with [her] feeling" when she teaches social studies. Hamilton often focuses on the "history of intolerance," concentrating on the Holocaust and the hardships immigrants have faced throughout the centuries.
"That can go everywhere," Hamilton said of an education that focuses on sensitive social issues. "I just try to make it relevant [to my students’ lives] … We try to get to the good stuff."
In the time she can spare, Hamilton shares her dramatic side with theatre lovers. She has performed at the Leddy Center, located in Epping, and Londonderry’s Music and Drama Company in a multitude of productions including "The Odd Couple," "The Sunshine Boys," "You Can’t Take It With You," "The Real Inspector Hound," "Moon Over Buffalo" and "Jekyll and Hyde."
"I usually get the comedic roles," she noted.
Hamilton said she brings her love of the arts to the classroom with plenty of visual clips. She also encourages her students to express themselves creatively with words. Hamilton’s theatrical background was especially helpful when she produced Hampton Academy’s Memorial Day tribute this past May.
"I really wanted to make it (the assembly) so they got what it was about," said Hamilton, who integrated music, dance and speech in such a way that students, teachers and guests could connect with the tribute.
In March, Hamilton traveled to Providence, RI where she accepted the New England League of Middle Schools’ "Promising Practitioner Award."
Hamilton said she attributes her ability to excel as a teacher to her colleagues.
"It’s a real natural fit — I think I got really lucky," she said. "The people I work with are amazing. I think when you’re in that kind of environment, it makes all the difference."
Christina Hamilton has not let her achievements go to her head —but she’s got a little insurance in the form of "compassion" on her wrist, just in case.