PERRYDALE — Compassion might not be an official part of the curriculum at Perrydale, but senior Sydney Perkins learned more than a few lessons in it during her 14 years at the school.
Perkins, the valedictorian for the Class of 2019, a three-sport athlete, leadership student and volunteer, said she learned to love serving others while working on school projects.
She plans to become a nurse, which combines helping others with her favorite subject.
“I also really enjoy science. That’s definitely my favorite subject, so I’m getting to do both,” Perkins said. “I love traveling, and being a nurse would also give me the option to do that.”
She said she hopes to travel to work in countries with a shortage of nurses.
Dan Dugan, Perrydale’s vice principal and athletic director, said Perkins is a fantastic student, and even better person.
“She has definitely left her mark on our school as a leader, athlete and role model, in addition to her hard work in the classroom,” Dugan said. “She is honest, kind, diligent, empathetic, studious, and very involved. Sydney gives of herself freely and is well respected by her peers and staff alike.”
In August, Perkins started volunteering on Sundays at Dallas Retirement Village.
“I take them to their church service and sit with them because they can’t always get there on their own,” Perkins said. “I think through leadership, I realized I like helping other people and they really like having someone there since they don’t get to go out a lot. It makes them really happy, so I like that a lot.”
Perkins will enroll in Oregon Health & Science University’s nursing program at Western Oregon University.
“I’m pretty excited. I’m ready for a change,” she said. “I know college is going to be a lot different, so I’m kind of nervous about that, but I think it will be a good change.”
Perkins said Perrydale’s academic and sports programs prepared her for what’s next.
“I think because it is a small school, we have a lot of one-on-one time with teachers, so we get a lot of help and they can help prepare us for college,” she said.
She said sports taught her about commitment, perseverance and making lifelong connections.
“I’ve grown really close to a lot of people, and I think if I hadn’t done sports then maybe I wouldn’t have been close with them,” she said. “Now I know I will always stay in touch with those people.”
Perkins said she will miss sports and leadership, but is eager for the new experiences college and career will bring.