Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dancer 'Destiny Perkins' reaching for the stars

Destiny Perkins dances off stage after a rousing performance
at the 12th Annual African-American History Festival

All eyes were upon Destiny Perkins, a talented young lady from St. Petersburg, FL as she took center stage during the local entertainment portion of the 12th Annual African-American History Festival held last weekend in Apalachicola. It became apparent from the moment she stepped on stage that Destiny, a seventh grader at Madeira Beach Fundamental School and the daughter of Gregory and Elizabeth "Liz" Perkins is destined to reach the stars.

Her father hails from Birmingham, AL, was a former teacher and assistant varsity football coach at Apalachicola High School during the mid-1980s.  Her mother is a native of Apalachicola and the daughter of the late Eddie and Lilly Joseph, Sr.

The Perkins family made the 300 mile trip from St. Petersburg to Apalachicola after receiving an invitation from H’COLA member Brenda Benjamin to give their daughter Destiny an opportunity to do what she loves doing best, and she did just that with grace and poise.

Destiny started her performance with a monologue and recited with confidence and animation one of her favorite poems, ‘Mother to Son’ written by American poet Langston Hughes, and it wasn't her first monologue either.

“Her very first monologue took place while she was in the first grade under the guidance of her teacher, Ms. Gail Sims, who was instrumental in also guiding the performance for that occasion”, said Destiny’s mother Liz Perkins.

Monologue and Dance Highlights 

After the monologue she performed a spirited African dance to Waka Waka (This Time for Africa), while adorned in African attire, both befitting for the occasion.  Waka Waka was the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which was held in South Africa and performed by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira. The lyrics of the song encourage one to aim for their goals like a soldier on a battlefield.

At the age of eight, Destiny’s parents enrolled her in the Paulette Johnson Performing Arts Center (PJPAC), where she found her calling and fell in love with the art of dancing.  While at PJPAC she participated in various dance ensembles, which included jazz, ballet, and hip hop. She has also performed at church, at school and for PJPAC.

“Dance is Love; Dance is Life", says Destiny.

Not only is Destiny an up-and-coming dancer, she’s also a well-rounded child and an excellent student that has made her family proud by maintaining the honor roll for the last six academic years and is on track of doing the same in this school year.

“As parents, we are very proud of her accomplishments… she's a solid student academically, one of her favorite things to do is create art and she is the only student that plays the Oboe in her school's band, she's a teen volunteer for the nursery at church, she participates in the Teen Technology program sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg, and we are equally as proud that she is one belt away from earning her Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do”, Liz Perkins said.

When asked about her future aspirations, Destiny had this to say… “I want to attend Lakewood High School, Center for Advanced Technology (a magnet program) and at LHS I want to participate in their dance and band program. I want to go to college at FAMU and continue to dance, do more in visual arts, and become a Veternarian or be successful in some way helping animals using my background in technology.

Quite an aspiration for a seventh grader, but given her humble attitude and her drive for excellence, coupled with the very definition of destiny, one is left with no doubt that she’s destined to do just that.