Eddie Dixon is one resilient young man. He’s also the winner of the DRI Foundation scholarship for a high school senior. A recent graduate of Southwest Guilford High School with a 4.31GPA, Eddie and was captain of the varsity lacrosse team and participated in a wide variety of extracurricular and volunteer activities during his high school career. But it wasn’t easy. During his freshman year, Eddie was sidelined by a shoulder injury that morphed into a rare chronic pain syndrome that had the High Point, NC resident travel as far as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for intensive treatment and therapy.
“He’s a great kid, a really hard worker, “says Eddie’s father, Ed Dixon, ABCP, who is Director of Business Continuity and Risk Management for XPO Logistics. “He’s been through a lot and is more mature than a lot of kids his age.”
That showed in his essay and his approach to writing it. The essay asked applicants to “provide your thoughts on how you could affect preparedness in your community.” That wasn’t hard for Eddie to imagine, as the April 30, 2019 University of North Carolina shooting has just occurred. “We hear stories like this so often that it is easy to become numb to them,” Eddie wrote. “This time was different, because it occurred very close to home, and I know people who attend the school. The community was shocked, aware that the victims might be our friends or family members. Several emotions took hold, such as anxiety, anger, and sadness.”
To inform his essay, Eddie interviewed the safety officer at his school, who Eddie said was pleasantly surprised to be approached and eager to provide input, much of which is that students and teachers need to take drills and prevention measures much more seriously than they do.
“After the incident, there is a great deal of media coverage, opinions posted on social media, and activists seizing widespread attention. Very soon, however, the activity dies down. I think that it is possible and necessary for preparedness to keep discussions going, and to keep awareness alive. As we work to seek ways to prevent tragedies, we are also preparing ourselves for them. One means of preventing violent acts by high risk individuals is through simple and consistent kindness to all. Kindness in our communities is important and underestimated. Whereas negative words, bullying, and exclusion can create anger and poor self-esteem among high risk people, respect and positive words in person and social medial can have the opposite affect and mitigate the risk of violent and fatal decisions. Already, I have co-founded the ‘Unity Club’ in my high school, focusing on social issues, inclusion, and anti-bullying. In much the same way, I can mobilize my college community to try to understand the emotional angst that many other young adults endure, and act to help people realize that they are not alone. By leveraging a similar student-based organization with the existing faculty and staff, I can establish and raise awareness of campus programs designed to reduce and confront bullying.”
Read Eddie’s essay in its entirety here. And join us in wishing Eddie all the best in his college career. He will be attending Roanoke College in the fall, where he will study exercise science and psychology.