Building a solid foundation
In May 2006, Derek Duran’s name was mentioned multiple times during Moffat County High School’s graduation ceremony. Besides being read off the list of many receiving diplomas that day, the college-bound student also received acknowledgement as Outstanding Senior Boy.
The award was the result of four years of hard work in the classroom, in the gym and elsewhere in the Craig community. And, though only two students, one male and one female, can achieve the top honor each year, Duran hopes to help future graduates of MCHS attain such standards.
As part of the local group Maximum Commitment to Excellence, Duran, 24, strives to promote greater involvement in schools across Moffat County.
“There’s some real successful businessmen in that group like Dave DeRose, Scott Cook, John Ponikvar, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s all about raising the bar for educational standards for the youth of the community.”
Though Duran may be one of the youngest members of the effort, he has an advantage because he recently went through the school system himself.
“I grew up here, and the community treated me well, so I want to do that for the kids here now,” he said. “I always knew I would come back to Craig, and I’ve got a passion for this place. I want kids to be proud coming from Moffat County.”
Duran first left Northwest Colorado to enroll at Mesa State College, later transferring to Colorado State University, where he graduated in winter 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in construction management and business.
Since returning to his hometown, he has worked with his father, Jim, for Duran and Pearce Contractors.
“That’s really the only job I’ve ever had, working for him, and I’ve always enjoyed it,” he said. “Eventually I’d like to take it over when he retires.”
A jack-of-all-trades, Duran works with large-scale construction equipment, performs office paperwork and pitches in on anything else that needs done.
“I think if I weren’t in the family business, I’d still be doing construction,” he said. “I’d also like to get more into coaching.”
Competing in MCHS football, basketball and track during his high school years, Duran also has assisted with the Bulldogs’ gridiron season.
“Right now, it’s just football, but I’d like to do basketball when I get a little more time,” he said. “I’ve got the perfect balance, coaching in the fall and working with the kids, and since I’m not a teacher, I get kind of a break from them.”
Duran also has worked with younger children, most recently giving Ridgeview Elementary students a breakdown of how the math they learn at an early age can be applied to real-world situations.
His belief, in line with the mission of Commitment to Excellence, is that it doesn’t take much for the community to pitch in for the learning experience of young people.
“There’s a lot of great people here, and they’re willing to help you out and put in some time and sacrifice and help make us better than what we are right now,” he said. “It’s encouraging to know we live in a place that wants to move to the top.”