“Investing in the Future”

Written & Submitted by Gwendolyn Dickson

We shape tomorrow’s future by what we teach our children today. As parents, are you investing in your children’s future?  Are you listening? Do you encourage? Do you build them up? Do you pray continually with them in the home and provide opportunities for their growth?  Life takes on new interest when parents invest in their children’s future. A parent’s life is a child’s guidebook.

God gives us children for a time. As parents, we must train them in the right way. Yes, love them, teach them, and show them how to follow and obey. Each day, children should strive to get better in life!

As a grandmother, the biggest investment is helping Randall Bishop, my grandson, succeed in life. I worked hard every day to give Randall the very best I have to offer: my knowledge and patience; my attention and care. It is hard work, but my efforts haven’t gone noticed.

On June 3, 2019, Randall started the challenge. He was accepted in the CLIMATE Summer Program on the Southern University and A&M College Campus, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. What is CLIMATE? C.L.I.M.A.T.E. – Cultivating Leadership Innovation by Motivating Agricultural Talents through Education. Climate is a two-year summer program designed specifically for current high school seniors. The overall goal of CLIMATE is to provide supplemental instruction and assist participants in qualifying for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) award. Also, to provide participants the opportunity to gain pre-collegiate work experience in a professional internship in their home town or a neighboring parish.

Randall completed Phase 1 of C-L-I-M-A-T-E.  He spent four weeks on campus. Randall attended classes (English, Math, Science, and Leadership Development). These classes prepared him for ACT test, educational short courses, and field trips. Next summer, Randall will be eligible to begin Phase 2. He will further his knowledge for eight weeks in areas of interests related to agriculture. Randall will be assigned for an internship with either state or local government agencies or community organizations.

In the summer of 2017, Randall completed the BAYOU: Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Institute (SARDI) at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The high school enhancement summer program was a one-month summer program that provided learning enhancement to high school students needing additional learning support. The purpose of the program was to provide an opportunity for a select number of high school youth to gain additional learning enhancement in Science, Math, English, Food and Agricultural Sciences (FAS), and related sciences. Randall was presented a stipend for attending the program.

Randall is a senior at Ouachita Parish High School. He is an honor student with a focus on academic excellence. Randall attends New Saint James Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Vance A. Price. His future plans are to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge majoring in Agricultural Engineering and pursue a minor degree in Animal Science.  Our hearts are filled with joyous reflections. We are proud of Randall’s prestigious achievements. Randall, your grandfather, the late Elton Dickson is smiling down on you with deep compassion.

Randall, “Your great work is not performed by strength but perseverance.” The race is not to the swift, nor the strong, but to the one who endure to the end. One thing about a race is a series of challenges, obstacles, and disappointments. You cannot win the challenge without God.

“If I work hard, then life will become easier,” implied Randall. I must take the initiative and have a purpose in life. I am so grateful for my Grandmother, Gwendolyn Dickson; Mom, D’Andrea Dickson; Aunt Esmerelda Dickson.  Special thanks to my aunt, Tee Relda, who inspired me to follow her footsteps in the Field of Agriculture. Thank you to everyone who played an important role in my life.

My grandmother often replies, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Dickson Family has been truly blessed to have such caring and supportive people who shape and mold me to be successful.  Determination + Hard Work = Success.

In closing, the family encourages Randall to lead, to serve and to care.  Trust God to move your mountain, but keep climbing the ladder of success.