Planting Seeds of Hope

In the midst of this challenging year, HSBC Point Scholar Lucas Dickerson has been planting seeds of hope. As the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave was swelling in April, Lucas wanted to foster strength and camaraderie in his Oxford, Mississippi, community. With this in mind, the University of Mississippi Computer Science major had an epiphany: using his own yard, he realized he could create a community garden to bring hope and support to those in the area.

“It is so good establishing a relationship with people who live right next to you that you might know nothing about,” Lucas said.

To get things started, Lucas started planting simple items like herbs. As time passed, he brought in larger planters and started growing vegetables, including some especially delicious tomatoes. Soon, his entire side yard was full of nutritious offerings – and the socially-distanced good company of neighbors.

“Getting fresh food from a neighbor that cares about you,” is the main purpose of the garden, Lucas said. He also asks himself every day, “How can I protect myself? How can I protect other members of my community?”

These thoughts were with Lucas in recent days as he, unfortunately, tested positive for COVID-19 himself. Luckily, Lucas is now in the clear health-wise, and has been feeling much better. His experience with the disease has strengthened his resolve.

“This reminded me of how strongly we must support our neighbors and find the joy in being with them,” he said.

Now that Lucas has recovered, he spends his time on schoolwork, and he even uses his spare moments to get a deeper knowledge of computer languages. To challenge themselves, Lucas and his boyfriend often compete against each other by using different coding languages to create the same product. One might take a stab using C++ while the other might be working in Java, for example. Once the task is complete, they take a look at their results and compare notes.

This keeps Lucas energized as he builds a portfolio and searches for internships while preparing for the GRE. Despite all the work at hand and the challenges that have come this year, the garden has been one of the bright spots that has kept him going.

“My relationship with other people is what keeps me upbeat,” he said.

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