Derron Neal

During our introductory sessions, the students were asked to mention something “unique” about themselves. Derron, 18, stood and spread his fingers apart like Spock from the original Star Trek series, revealing tiny nubs on the side of his pinkies:

“I was born with two extra fingers but they had to cut them off,” he told the class.

Derron, 18, is shy and quiet but seems ever the industrialist. During our summer classes, his head was almost always pointed down toward his ever-present silver/gray laptop. Derron is the only member of the Sweet Potato crew who stays behind after classes either reading or working on his beloved laptop.

Marquita, who interviewed Derron for our journalism session, described him as “uncooperative” because he didn’t make eye contact and had to have responses pulled out of him. I don’t see him as “uncooperative.” I consider him a “planner”– someone who doesn’t need the limelight or extra attention. He’s a kid with the Spock-like ability to quietly do his thing while plotting a course toward success. – S. Brown / Program administrator


My name is Derron Neal. I am 18 years old. I graduated from Gateway Institute of Technology and am prepared to go to the University of Missouri-Columbia for business in the fall. My hobbies are Facebook, videos, and spending time with friends. The Sweet Potato Project has taught me business skills that will be useful in helping me pursue my business degree.