CHICAGO (CBS) -- We have a long-awaited winner for our Traffic Tryouts contest at CBS 2.
Derrick Young will be CBS 2's new traffic reporter. He has been spending his time in the classroom at two schools in Matteson School District 162, teaching character education. He also conducts a high school program and an after-school fitness program at Harlan Community Academy, 9652 S. Michigan Ave.
As CBS 2's Steve Bartelstein reports, from the moment you meet Derrick, you notice his charisma and passion.
"He has a certain vibe; like when he walks into a room, you can feel it. You can feel his presence, and I love that," said one of his students, Jasmine Bovia.
This is why Derrick's students believe in him, and themselves.
"It made me feel good; I believe in myself," said student Armani Griffin.
Armani is just one of many who have learned life lessons from Derrick, about education, responsibility and character.
"I feel like I'm speaking life into those words; like I'm actually doing them instead of just reading them off of a paper," Jasmine said.
Very little in Derrick's classroom comes from the pages of a book; it's more from the heart. And by leading with that heart, Derrick leads by example.
"My younger brothers and stuff – I'm role models for them, because they look up to me and stuff like that," said Mario, one of Derrick's students.
But Derrick is also real like that. He gets a candid answer when he asks his students if any of them didn't want to come to school one day.
"I'm trying, you know, and I think that's what it's all about, is example," Derrick said.
If it takes a village, Derrick's village is quick to say what we saw.
"I have two daughters who are in college," said Derrick's sister, Rosalyn Johnson. "He tells them both, 'Your first date will be with Uncle D, because I'm going to take you out, and I'm going to set the standard of what you should expect from every young man."
Derrick's students were thrilled to see him as a CBS 2 Traffic Tryouts finalists.
"I feel like the people who watch him – they're going to be smiling for the rest of the day," Jasmine said.
So with his new gig at CBS 2, will Derrick stay in the classroom?
"I would love to be able to do that – probably transitioning more to after-school programs, but absolutely plan to stay in the schools and do what I'm doing," he said.
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