The first memory I have of Derrick is our first week at UT Tyler together. We were upstairs in the classroom that would become our room for most of our classes over the next two years, all strangers in the building that would shape and change our lives. Kait and I were sitting in the back, cuttin’ up and making everybody laugh (classic) and once the laughter died down and about five seconds of silence had passed Derrick said, “Ha!” I remember Kait and I looking at each other at the same time and dying laughing. That set the tone for our friendship, I think.
If our names were a hashtag, what would it be?
What do you remember about when we first met?
You were very anti social and didn’t talk to anyone. I always thought you could sing. You were cool to hang out with. You would always come and talk to me about your problems and hated the fact that I was very blunt. You had a sense of humor. (Obviously Derrick had a very different first impression of me.)
When is your birthday?
January 4, 1990
How do you relax when you’re stressed?
IF I ever get stressed nobody will see me for a long time. But I’m really mellow. (It’s true. I’ve never seen or heard Derrick be upset or raise his voice. Ever.)
What makes a place home for you?
When I can have my own space. Where there’s peace and quiet.
What’s your biggest passion? Something that makes you really happy like what you were put on earth to do.
Make a difference in someone else’s life. (It’s funny, because when I asked this question I said, “I already know the answer to this because everyone else has said the same thing: music.” Then he had to go and surprise me.)
What’s your favorite time of day?
Uhh…night? So I can go to sleep.
Someone with bad breath. Brush your teeth.
How do I describe Derrick? All that know him just describe him as being Derrick. You know that friend that everyone gets and understands but can’t quite verbalize all the qualities about him? That’s Derrick: mellow, controlled, steady and cool. He’s incredibly trustworthy and loyal. Lord knows he knows more about me than he probably cares to, but we all confide in him knowing that he’s a trap and will give us blunt, but truthful, advice.
Whenever I feel down or lost Derrick is there to encourage me that I’m doing the right thing and going down the right path. Derrick hasn’t had it easy. He’s struggled to make is way through school never asking for handouts or complaining. He’s a true survivor and won’t hesitate to give God the glory. Derrick knows who’s made the way for him and who will continue to do so.
Derrick’s got talent. God-given beautiful talent of voice and piano and it just comes so naturally. It’s envy inducing, honestly. Between classes a few of us used to go to a piano practice room and have mini worship times with Derrick on the piano and all of us singing whatever songs came to mind. If Derrick didn’t know it, we played about ten seconds of it and he had it. Right? So jealous. But again, Derrick won’t hesitate to thank God for that gift and he knows how to use it to give Him praise. It’s awesome to witness.
Right now Derrick is about to finish his last semester at UT Tyler after hustling all summer taking extra classes to finish on time. Like the rest of us, he doesn’t know what he’ll do. Maybe move back home, stay around here and work a while… it’s all up in the air. I pray that Derrick and I will remain friends, and I really believe we will. I love you Derrick. Thank you for being my friend.