Sydney Lauren Perkins was born April 3, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois to her loving parents, Barbara and Raymond. Sydney departed this world, twenty-one years later, on August 9, 2016, after a long battle with depression.
Affectionately known as “Syd” or “Syd Syd,” Sydney attended the historic and prestigious Latin School of Chicago from Pre-K through 12th Grade. An outstanding scholar, Sydney graduated in the top 20% of her class. At Latin, Sydney developed strong passions for poetry and penned several unique poems. Her classmates and teachers adored her poetry. They encouraged her to continue writing poetry and participate in open readings and poetry slam competitions.
Sydney also sang in Latin’s choir. Determined to improve her singing, Sydney took singing lessons. Her hard work paid off as she received the Vocal Music Award during her 8th grade graduation ceremony. Sydney also participated in various sports throughout the years, including rowing, basketball, field hockey, and track.
In her junior year, Sydney won the Varsity Track team’s “Sportsmanship Award” which was awarded to the athlete who best exhibited “good sportsmanship,” “cooperation,” “positive attitude,” “100% effort,” “excellent attendance,” and “athletic ability.”
After her Latin School Graduation in July 2013, Sydney attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. At Spelman, Sydney excelled academically earning a 3.9 Grade Point Average on a 4.0 academic scale. She was a member of the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program for talented students. Sydney also founded the “Busiest Bees” Network which counseled and supported those suffering from depression.
Looking for new challenges, Sydney transferred to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee for her sophomore year. Appalled by the shootings of unarmed black men by police, Sydney refused to remain silent. Joined by many of her fellow students and other concerned citizens, Sydney engaged in “sit-ins” and took to the streets of Nashville to peacefully protest and remind the world that “Black Lives Matter”.
After a few months at Vanderbilt, Sydney took time away from her studies to fight her recurring battle with depression. She spent this time with family and reveled in her roles as daughter, big sister, cousin, and friend. After being at home for a while, Sydney wrote that she “was well,” “happy,” and felt the best that she had “been in a long while.” She said she was again ready to focus on school.
Sydney chose the University of Michigan at Dearborn to restart her academic career in January 2016. Majoring in Business Administration, Sydney once again excelled earning no less than an “A-” in all of her classes except one.
During this time, Sydney took an active interest in the 2016 Presidential Primary Election and began “Feeling the Bern.” An avid Bernie Sanders supporter, she took great pride in convincing others to vote for Bernie. Passionate about issues such as health care, social justice and criminal justice reform, Sydney loved debating these issues with family and friends. Although Sydney only spent one semester at the University of Michigan Dearborn, the University awarded her a Certificate of Accomplishment toward a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree.
Sydney wanted to be a doctor since she was four years old. In July 2011, she successfully completed the Northwestern Medical Explorer Program which introduced students to the medical field. But current events caused her to change how she wanted to help people. She recently decided that she wanted to become an attorney (like her father) to fight social injustice and to protect the rights of those who needed it most.
Sydney always had a passion for helping others. Most recently, she was planning to participate in fundraising for dentists that operate “pro bono” on children with cleft palates all over the world. She also led clothing drives for the needy, both in high school and college.
While Sydney was quite involved in her academic and extracurricular activities, she also loved being “big sister” to her siblings, Paige, Rhian and Cade. She viewed herself as their protector. She also protected and loved her family. She would often send texts to her family with two simple words “Love You” followed by a heart symbol. Sydney was loved by many and had an uncanny ability to gain new friends. Her infectious laugh and quick wit were adored by all who knew her. Whether she was bungee jumping, cliff diving, parasailing, jet skiing, or travelling to new places, Sydney had an incredible zeal for adventure, passion for fun, and loved sharing her joy with others.