We all have dreams. We aspire to a great many things but usually get derailed. That was not the case with Derrick Parker Jr, who sought academic excellence and never deterred from it.
Parker has always wanted to be someone black and other disadvantaged minorities can look to and try to emulate. He is not just book smart, he plays sports, plays a musical instrument, and is politically aware.
Speaking on his graduation from Morehouse College, he said:
“4 years ago, when I was sitting in the audience at my high school graduation, I made a vow to myself that the next place that I graduated from, I would be the one who gave the valedictorian address. Well… 4 years later, I have just been named the 2018 Valedictorian of Morehouse College!! Keeping a 4.0 GPA for eight straight semesters has not been easy, but when you remain steadfast in your pursuits, no mountain is too high, and no valley is too low.”
He is now headed to Harvard Law School, picking it ahead of 15 other law schools that accepted him and on a full-time scholarship.
But this is not a first. Derrick has a history of academic excellence. His college degree cost his parents nothing. Deciding at a young age that he does not want his parents to have to pay for his college education, Derrick set to receiving scholarships that would take care for this.
He was one of 150 selected from 100,000 applicants to win a $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship. He won a $5,000 ING Spirit of Anne Frank scholarship. And he won a Gates Millennium Scholarship, which pays the total cost of attending the college of his choice through to graduate school.
Derrick wanted and went for it. He made sacrifices, electing to stay home to read when his friends asked to go out. He is enjoying the fruits of all that labour now. Put in the work and see the rewards come back. There is no shortcut to success.