RALEIGH — Derek Carl Eaddy Hodge II was a 21-year-old junior studying business at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro when he was fatally shot during a home invasion robbery at his off-campus apartment in April 2008.
He had graduated three years before from Southeast Raleigh High School and grew up in the Riley Hill community in Wendell, where he sang in the youth choir and served as an usher at the Riley Hill Baptist Church. He loved basketball, participated in community projects and even designed clothes.
He was a good, mannerly young man.
“This young man was is his 20s and he was still saying, ‘Yes, ma’am and No, ma’am,’” said Marva Williams, a family friend. “He was a true Southern gentleman.”
This weekend in Raleigh, his parents, Derek and Eva Hodge, honored their son’s memory when they awarded $1,000 scholarships to two college students who grew up in Wake County.
This is the second year that the Derek E. Hodge II Memorial Scholarship Foundation has awarded scholarships to deserving college students. The Hodges established the foundation in 2011 with the goal of raising scholarship money for college-bound high school students. The foundation awarded funds to one student last year but was able to help two students this year because of the overwhelming response to the previous event.
Eva Hodge said her son was a very talented young man with lofty aspirations in life.
“I knew that one day Derek was going to be successful,” she said Wednesday. “We just want to help others achieve their dreams as well.”
The Hodges and Derek’s sister, Karla Hodge, presented Courtney Dunn and William Lashley IV with checks Saturday night at the Crabtree Valley Marriott in Northwest Raleigh.
Dunn and Lashley both grew up in Wake County, and both are freshmen enrolled at N.C. A&T.
“This was Derek’s parents’ way of giving back,” said Williams, who helped organize Saturday’s event. “Their son went to college to further his dreams through education. Now they are hoping to help others fulfill their dreams and do something that Derek was unfortunately unable to fulfill.”
Eva Hodge didn’t want her son to become another statistic.
“It’s about giving back,” she said. “That’s what we taught Derek, to give back.”