Central Valley High School junior-varsity boys basketball head coach Jordan Dickson was just nine years old when he sold lemonade and cookies in an effort to raise money for a family friend in need of an organ transplant.
"It's a mindset I have," he said. "I like people. I've been fortunate in my life to have a great family and group of friends. I owe it to others to pay it back."
On Nov. 5, 23-year-old Dickson was elected to serve a two-year term on the Modesto City Schools board.
He attended the swearing-in ceremony on Nov. 26.
"I decided to throw my hat into the ring June of this year," Jordan said. "It was a whirlwind right from the beginning. I'm young and have never done this before. Campaigning is hard to explain to people who haven't done it. It's non-stop. I get an opportunity to do something positive for this community. I'm going to bring a different perspective to the board. My job is to do what's best for the students."
Dickson attended a surprise get-together with family and friends at Minnie's Restaurant in Modesto during election night. His nerves were settled when results were announced.
"My dad (Darryl) introduced me to everyone," Jordan said. "It was a very special night. I'm glad I got to share it with the people that were there."
"We're real proud of him," Darryl said. "He works extremely hard at what he does."
Jordan was quick to credit his six-person staff, which consisted of a mix of old and new friends, for getting him elected. He did not hire a professional campaign manager.
"I like to work with people I trust," he said. "They made this happen. They were all smart and hard working."
Dickson graduated from Stanford University in 2012. He had a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.7. Jordan majored in Political Science and minored in Psychology. He taught in Stanford's Bing Nursery School and tutored elementary students from East Palo Alto. Dickson was president of the University's mock trial team and club basketball organization.
Dickson attended Grace Davis High School (2004-2008). He was student body president, editor-in-chief of the Corinthian newspaper and captain of the mock trial team. Jordan earned three varsity letters in basketball.
Jordan attended Salida Middle School and Perkins Elementary. "He was always so involved in everything," Darryl said. "He's created his own path."
Jordan's worked in Brand Marketing for E.&J. Gallo Winery's Premium Business Unit for 11/2 years.
Dickson started coaching basketball at Central Valley High School during the 2012-13 school year.
He'll direct the Hawks' junior-varsity squad this winter. Jordan was freshman head coach a season ago. "I love basketball," he said. "It's a passion of mine and a stress reliever."
Dickson didn't divulge any information when asked about his political aspirations. "Thinking that far into the future is crazy," he said. "I'm just excited about this opportunity right now. The board is going to have a different voice. I've always been passionate about education and working with kids. I want to make an impact on all 30,000 students in our district. One day, I'll go back to school to get an advanced degree."
Jordan chuckled when informed that his father revealed his plans.
"He wants to run for President in 2036," Darryl said. "He's working his way up the ladder. If he asks for guidance, his mom (Sheryl) and I do our best to give that to him. It's crazy. Time goes by extremely fast. We knew early on he always put people before himself. He was sharing toys with other children at the age of three."
"I definitely feel pressure and have for most of my life," Jordan said. "There are a lot of expectations. But I don't have anything to complain about. I have a lot to be thankful for."