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A tribute to David Hicks and his impact on Jacksonville

When I learned the sad news that David Hicks, founder of Computer Power Inc. and many other companies, passed away, I was deeply affected.  He is the father of Poppy Clements, Board Chair of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF), and one of our organization’s most incredible supporters, but his impact on my life began long ago.

As a former recipient of the University of North Florida (UNF) Hicks Scholars Endowment Scholarship, I am so thankful for generous people like David and his wife, Ann Hicks, who have made it possible for many young people in Jacksonville to receive the quality education needed to maximize their potential. Their gifts are an investment in the future of children and in the future of our city.    

Like many in Jacksonville, I went to college after high school with pressures and challenges associated with attending some of Duval County’s historically celebrated schools as well as some of its underserved schools. Stigmatization with teen parenting and the fact that I came from a lower income background than many of my peers meant that I was at much greater risk of not graduating.

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Fortunately for me, people like David and Ann Hicks chose to invest in the future of children and youth, especially those who, at some point in their lives, lived in public housing or HabiJax homes. The odds were, and in many cases continue to be, stacked against young people in these circumstances, but the right encouragement and support to achieve my potential changed the trajectory of my life.

I went to college as a relatively new mother of a very young child; not having the burden of expenses associated with the phenomenal education I received at UNF made all the difference in the world. With the Hicks’ support, I excelled in and beyond college.

Today in my role as Interim President of JPEF, I continue to witness the commitment and impact of investors like David and Ann Hicks who generously give to help ensure young people in our city are provided with excellent educational opportunities. I see my own life as a part of the Hicks’ legacy and impact in Jacksonville and I am eternally grateful for their contributions.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, for everything.