Tomorrow’s leaders: Derek Wright

Published 2:26 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

Derek Wright’s soft tone of voice and mild manners belie his athletic prowess.

The King’s Fork High School senior has been a powerhouse on the Bulldogs’ varsity football and basketball teams since ninth grade, and he played on the junior varsity teams as an eighth-grader. He was part of the state championship-winning team in spring 2009 as a junior.

Wright is being heavily recruited by such prestigious schools as the College of William and Mary, the University of Richmond, The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute. However, the athlete has a goal in mind far greater than the next touchdown or three-pointer.

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“I’ve always had a passion for math,” Wright said. “I’d like to major in a business or technology type of field, but I don’t really know where it will lead.”

Wright says that math and technology have always been “in his genes.” His father is a designer at the Newport News shipyard, and the younger Wright apparently is following in his father’s footsteps.

Besides being involved in sports and maintaining a grade point average of about 3.8, Wright participates in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club, which focuses on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader. Students in the club develop life skills through creative thinking, interpersonal communications and career preparation. Wright says the club helps him focus on his ultimate goal.

“When I’m of age, I’d like to be able to provide for my family,” he said. “Technology jobs are supposed to rise. It will complement me and help me be able to raise a family.”

Wright says he is drawn to math classes because he likes to confront a challenge and solve it.

“It’s really in my genes,” he said. “There’s just something about a problem … I really like a challenge.”

Wright isn’t sure yet what challenges he’ll confront when he leaves college. He does know one thing, though.

“I just want the world to be a better place,” Wright said. “I want to be one of those people that says, ‘I’m going to do my part to make it in life.’”

Wright hopes to be able to help change people’s attitudes toward world issues through effective communication when he is older.

“They don’t really know what’s going on,” Wright said. “Their attitude will have to change so they can do more positive in society.”

Wright is the son of Clinton Wright Sr. and Javonda Wright. He has two younger siblings, Clinton Wright Jr., 7, and Destinee, 2.