Senior Spotlight: Derrick Braxton, Jr.

Congratulations to graduating senior Derrick Braxton, Jr., who will be graduating summa cum laude with the DLS Class of 2023, before heading to the University of Michigan on a “full ride.”

Derrick has plans to major in neuroscience/molecular biology and minor in Spanish, followed by medical school and a career in neurosurgery. 

During his four years at De La Salle, Derrick has distinguished himself in several areas. He was a member of the DLS DECA team, winning the district competition in Marketing Management - Team Decision Making, along with his partner Michael Saad. With that win, the team qualified for the state competition, which was also the same weekend as the MHSAA Boys’ Swim Finals. Derrick joined the DLS Swim team as a junior, and competed in diving, qualifying for that competition in only his second year of diving. He credits his training in gymnastics for his success. Derrick is the DLS Swimming-Diving Nominee for the CHSL Scholar-Athlete Award; each sports' winners will be announced at a CHSL gathering on June 5. 

A member of the National Honor Society, Derrick has been enrolled in Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. His AP coursework includes U.S. History, American Government, Computer Science Principals, English Language and Composition, Physics, Biology, Calculus AB, English Literature and Composition, Psychology, Microeconomics, and Spanish 4. 

With a heavy academic course load, Derrick still participated in several activities, including Student Council, E-sports, Link Crew, Medical Club, Law Club, Stockmarket Club, Mock Trial, and the Film Club. 

His favorite classes at DLS have been AP Calculus and AP Biology. 

Derrick says that his favorite memory after graduation will be “I’m glad I had the opportunity to surround myself with intellectually-minded people I could grow with.”

Principal Brother Ken Kalinowski calls Derrick “a true Pilot.” He adds, “Derrick has always been friendly, polite, and positive. He takes his studies quite seriously and is a friend to all.” 

Former track coach Jill Suminski coached Derrick and said, “His athletic ability stood out as much as his kindness. I knew from the beginning he was what a true DLS Pilot encompassed, and he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Science teacher Mary Balamucki has high praise for Braxton. “Derrick is a joy to work with,” she said. “He is such a hard worker, he’s funny, and he’s kind.”

Swim coach Jim Singelyn echoes Balamucki’s comments. “Derrick or ‘D-Rock’ is such a great kid. He is always willing to help others, and is one of the kindest kids I’ve ever met.”

Spanish teacher Lindsey Tula notes, “Derrick works really hard in everything he does. In Spanish, he wants the BEST vocabulary word to express his ideas, not just a good one.” 

Derrick’s advice to incoming freshmen is to “aim for excellence and participate in a plethora of activities to broaden the scope of their high school experience. Don’t overcrowd your schedules or let failures define you. Never be afraid to take time for yourself to have fun and relax.”

Derrick attended St. Paul on the Lake Grade School in Grosse Pointe Farms, and chose to attend DLS because of his mother’s brothers who are alumni: Ted Kedzierski ‘71, the late Michael Kedzierski ‘69, and Mark Kedzierski ‘74. 

Senior Spotlight: Derrick Braxton, Jr.
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