When Savannah Smith Hamilton ’15 was an Upper School student at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, just getting out the door often felt like a daily miracle with siblings Sophie ’18, Scarlett ’21, Stone ’22 and Skylar ’26. Once she started driving, her mornings consisted of dropping off Scarlett and Stone at the Lower School, then taking Sophie to Middle School, parking her car, walking Skylar to the Primary School and then starting her own school day.
As a member of Student Council, the WHIS broadcast and Prom Committee, Ms. Hamilton kept a full schedule with additional commitments in cheer, tennis and volleyball.
“A lot of my favorite memories are from Friday night cheerleading,” she said. “And I loved broadcast – Mr. [James} Jackson is the best.”
One of her favorite classes was poetry with Ben DeSantis. “I love poetry to this day and I credit that to him,” she said.
Ms. Hamilton also participated in the HIES Program for Global Studies. She visited South Africa on a school trip in which each student spent part of their time with a host family. The immersive experience impacted all on the trip. “That is my favorite trip I have ever taken,” she said. “It was absolutely incredible.”
She took part in a mission trip to Costa Rica over 2.5 weeks as well. The students assisted with building a school, helped residents practice English and were able to enjoy a whitewater rafting excursion. That trip was memorable for many reasons, including that Ms. Hamilton exhausted 11 cans of bug spray. “I was way outside my comfort zone but it was amazing,” she said.
For her Global Capstone project – required of all seniors in the program – she partnered with a homeless shelter to provide counseling and assistance to women and children. Called “Each One, Reach One,” her project was one of five selected for funding by a faculty committee that evaluated the projects.
“Savannah is someone who embodies some of the best of what Holy Innocents’ wants people to be,” Erik Vincent, director of the Program for Global Studies, said. “She has a bright personality and a servant’s heart, and her faith and commitment to service is a central part of her identity. Her work in the Global program was always very mission-centered.”
While her participation in Global programs took her outside of her norm, her college search did as well. Ms. Hamilton had her heart set on Ole Miss for a long time as her mother, Misty, is an alumna. But her college counselor suggested she expand her search and after visiting the University of Alabama, her plans changed. She enrolled at Bama and majored in public relations with minors in hospitality management and computer science. She was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and served on the university’s Leadership Council.
After graduating in 2019, she ran a restaurant and boutique hotel until COVID forced her to close the business in 2020. It was time to regroup. She had toyed with the idea of opening a clothing boutique for some time. In a family with so many girls, clothes become fairly important in daily life.
She applied for her business license and, drawing heavily on her computer science skills, in August 2021 she opened Smith and Mode, an online women’s clothing boutique. While the shop does not have a physical presence, she frequently holds pop-up boutiques in other locations or sip-n-shop parties in people’s homes around Muscle Shoals, Ala., where she currently lives and works.
Continuing with her entrepreneurial endeavors, in fall 2022, Ms. Hamilton opened Scottarosa Farms, a wedding and events facility north of Birmingham, Ala. “I like to stay busy and learn new things,” she said. “I’ve always liked planning, I helped with my sister-in-law’s wedding and the business has been a great success.”
As a newlywed herself, her personal experience has served as an asset. Ms. Hamilton married Jacob Hamilton in June 2022; he is the head football coach at Phil Campbell High School. Her Friday nights in the fall continue to be occupied with football if she’s not working an event, which are currently booked into 2025.
“I’ve had to teach myself a lot and I’ve learned by asking others,” Ms. Hamilton said. “A lot of it is trial and error. I’m continuing to pour a lot of time and love into these businesses to help them thrive.”
She advised others to run with their ideas and not let fear stop them. “It’s okay to fail,” she said. “Attitude is altitude and it will take you far.”
“Do your best and God will do the rest. That’s one of my mom’s favorite sayings.”