It was a very emotional week for King’s band students when they learned that Ronald Perkins, Jr., band director, must leave to serve his country. Perkins will start a new job with the U.S. Army. He began training Nov. 18 but won’t start the actual job for a year.
“I am a cyber operations specialist with the U.S. Army which is a job in cyber security,” said Perkins. “My main focus will be in defensive hacking, so I’ll initially be defending the U.S. government from cyber-attacks from other countries.”
Perkins graduated from King in 2005 and has worked at the school for five years. He first started as a choir director but after his boss retired, he became the band director. Perkins has had an impact in his students' personal lives.
“Mr. Perkins has been like a father figure because he helped me through life even though I felt like I couldn't do something,” junior Demarco Teasley said. “He made me confident about myself and what I can do.”
Students who have been with Perkins for all four years of high school took the news of him leaving the hardest. Senior Devin Chisholm was heartbroken.
“In the beginning of my ninth-grade year, I had no idea what I wanted to do or be and if I was happy or not,” Chisholm said. “Over the course of years, he has inspired me to be a better me and better person and gave me the tools to be successful. It sucks that he’ll never be able to see how much he actually changed my life.”
Perkins said he wants the best for his students even after he leaves King. He wants them to become the best people they can be and think about others.
“The students have to learn how to be functioning humans in society who care about people as much as they care about themselves. That's what I wish,” said Perkins. “It’s not wishing for the students in the band it’s wishing for people who come in contact with the band members.”
Perkins isn’t sure if he will come back to King because, for him, it’s all about service and where he’ll be most beneficial.
“If I find that I am being a greater service with the Army than I could be here (at King), I won’t be back. If I find I’m a greater service here then I would be back. It depends on where life takes me,” Perkins said.