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A heart for children

Avery Dixon finds ways to serve other kids
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
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Submitted photo Lincoln Parish Elementary Student of the Year Avery Dixon receives her recognition joined by, from left, school district Communications Coordinator Brandon Sutherland, Chief Pandemic Officer Lisa Bastion, Assistant Superintendent John Young, A.E. Phillips Director Jenny Blalock and AEP Assistant Director of Elementary Stephanie Whitten.

Editor’s note: This feature on Avery Dixon is the first in a series of spotlights on two Lincoln Parish Students of the Year and one Principal of the Year, all from A.E. Phillips Laboratory School.

Lincoln Parish Elementary Student of the Year Avery Dixon, Middle School Student of the Year Melissa Le and Elementary Principal of the Year Jenny Blalock each hail from A. E. Phillips Laboratory School, but that’s not the only similarity they share.

Each of these awardees also has a passion for children and has devoted time and energy to serving them.

In 11-year-old Dixon’s case, that passion has taken forms such as aspiring to be a pediatrician, raising money for child cancer patients, helping her mother create lessons for art students and more.

Dixon, currently in fifth grade at AEP, remembers the positive experiences at her own doctor’s appointments when discussing why she wants to become a pediatrician.

“They’re always really nice to me, and I usually get a sticker or a sucker afterwards,” she said. “I like children a lot, and I want to help people, so I thought, ‘Why not help children?’”

An accomplished runner, Dixon was a leader on AEP’s 5-6 grade state championship-winning cross country team.

She uses this talent to take part in numerous running fundraisers for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“That’s a hospital that focuses on children,” Dixon said. “So to know that I’m running for children is a big connection for me.”

A top AR reader, Dixon likes to express herself through writing and art. She has entered art contests at previous Louisiana Peach Festivals and even sold original Christmas cards, wire cross ornaments and wooden ornaments at the Holiday Arts Market this past winter.

A self-described perfectionist in most areas, Dixon said art is an avenue for her to paint outside the lines of life.

“I like abstract art a lot because you can just express yourself, and everything doesn’t have to be perfect,” she said. “I like everything to be perfect, but every now and then I’ll be like, ‘This is kind of cool, I’ll just splatter something on there and see what happens.”

When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Dixon’s mother, Dubach School art teacher Lauren Dixon, was challenged with teaching students art through virtual means.

So she banded together with Avery to create instructional videos demonstrating various art techniques like felting.

It was just another opportunity for Avery to help out other children.

“I keep asking when we can do it again,” she said.

When asked about her school’s garnering two parishwide student of the year winners, AEP Director Jenny Blalock said watching students like Dixon grow up and internalize the school’s messages of service and kindness is a reward all its own.

“We’ve been able to watch them since kindergarten,” Blalock said. “So when they’re chosen (for student of the year), it’s not just from this year. We’ve had years to watch them develop, and they’ve been outstanding since a young age.”

When not reading, writing, running or making art, Dixon can also be found baking sweet treats for her family and neighbors or volunteering her time at Trinity United Methodist Church functions.

She credits both her parents and teachers for motivating her to excel.

“If it’s something hard that I’m struggling with (AEP teachers) always come up with jokes and ways to make it fun to learn about, so I’m always interested,” Dixon said.

Having been named elementary student of the year for AEP and then at the district level, Dixon and her fellow Lincoln Parish winners will continue to compete for regional and state honors.