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Derrick Vincent... Come Here Son

Derrick Vincent is by far one of my most favorite students. I can remember the day he joined the band when I was a band director. He originally was supposed to join the football team but something happened... so he joined the band. I thought to myself... all he is going to do is get in trouble. During that time in high school, it was his middle name. So I reluctantly allowed Derrick to be in the band. I will also like to mention his nickname was Slurp.

So... Derrick had NO rhythm whatsoever, but he had a love for music and the band. I began noticing strong leadership qualities in this young man. I still wasn't sold... His first year was fine, but I wasn't sure about his second year. Derrick was a "nontraditional" senior his last year. He was only missing just a few credits and really didn't have a full schedule. The principal decided that since I did such a good job with him, that he should be my assistant from 11:30 on until the end of the day. I couldn't find a reason to say no, so he was my assistant. During that time we bonded. He was my "Mexican" son,

and I was his "African" father. While obtaining my master's, I had an assignment on a high profile student. I selected Derrick. I figured since I saw him so much that I might as well make an assignment out of it. What I found during the assignment interviews is that he and I had a whole lot in common. Derrick finished the year and graduated high school. I was extremely sad at his graduation because I felt as if I was losing a friend.

You might be wondering what the purpose of this entry may be... I'll tell you. Getting to know Derrick Vincent rekindled my love for education. Derrick was a guy that was simply misunderstood and needed an advocate. I became that advocate. I felt a strong urge to become that advocate for everyone. He is one of the sole reasons that I fell in love with administration.

Derrick's allowing me to get to know him and help him has not stopped. The pictures attached are from high school, and a few years ago when I visited him while he was living in Washington DC. I speak to Slurp at least once every week. We definitely have each other's back. I'm smiling now because I remember taking him to go get a Steve Harvey haircut... that was back when I had hair. That was a $40 haircut... I wouldn't dare let him pay.

Things I learned. Every Label a child is given is not correct. If I had allowed other's perception of him to affect me, I would have lost out on a great relationship with someone I consider a close friend/son. I also learned that everyone needs somebody. We all need a little help and encouragement along the way. Last, but not least, I learned that it's ok to be transparent and vulnerable with students appropriately. Derrick helped me heal through some of my own personal issues.

Thank You Derrick for joining the band and making a difference in my life. You are an amazing guy, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.


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