Mark Perkins strives to achieve more

Fellow SOAR counselors Mark Perkins and Claire Kiel, smile atop a car in the UNA homecoming parade prior to winning the titles of homecoming king and queen later that day. They received immense support from their fellow SOAR counselors and the freshman that they counseled over the summer.

Karrington Oliver Volunteer Writer [email protected]

UNA Lagrange Society Ambassador Mark Perkins had no idea that he was going to be nominated for—and win—2019 UNA homecoming king.

Perkins is a brother of Alpha Tau Omega, a SOAR counselor, a Lagrange Society Ambassador, a student leadership consultant for Student Engagement and the treasurer for LionCom, a mass communications organization here on campus.

As a member of the Lagrange Society and a SOAR counselor, Perkins talks to UNA faculty and staff, incoming students and their parents.

Perkins is one of the most recognizable faces on campus and has a smile on his face wherever he is seen. He is a senior, from Gardendale, Ala., majoring in mass communications with a focus in broadcast journalism, and a minor in Spanish.

“Being a SOAR counselor is, honestly, one of the best things I’ve been involved with so far,” Perkins said. “I love it, because I’m on Lagrange as well, and it feels good to know that I impacted and helped with someone’s decision on choosing UNA as their home for the next four years.”

Perkins often reflects on his most memorable moments being a SOAR counselor.

“Even though it’s only two days we spend together, it’s a really good two days,” Perkins said. “You really make a connection with a lot of [new students] and it’s good to come back during the semester and get to know them as your peers, rather than just being their SOAR counselor. It’s a really great feeling.”

His own tour of UNA helped him realize that UNA was his home and he was here for a reason.

When Perkins was applying to schools, he was focused on bigger schools, like the University of Alabama, not even giving UNA a thought.

“I came here and toured, and went to Preview Day, and I really enjoyed it,” Perkins said. “UNA made me feel really welcomed. My dad felt more comfortable with my going here as well, and it just kind of worked out that way and I’m glad it did.”

Perkins said he was “pretty pumped” when he received his acceptance letter from UNA.

“I’m actually a first generation college student in my immediate family, so it was a really big deal, not only for me but for my family as well,” Perkins said. “They were super pumped and happy for me. I remember celebrating in my room and posting it on Facebook. It was great.”

Perkins strives to achieve as much as he can, and live a good life. While he does not have any major influences, God is a major part of his life.

“I pray about everything I do, before I do it,” Perkins said. “I wouldn’t do a single thing differently from my time here at UNA, just because I believe everything happens for a reason and is right in it’s timing.”

Growing up, he was always involved in organizations around his school.

“I was close with my family, and I had a lot of friends in high school,” Perkins said. “I was always doing something and was always busy. I was constantly running around, like I am now pretty much.

If anyone knew Perkins freshman year and then now, they would see that he’s changed in a lot of positive ways.

“I have come so far and have achieved so many things that I never thought I would, like being homecoming king and being a SOAR counselor,” Perkins said. “It’s a really good feeling to know that I have made progress from where I was to where I am now. The faculty and staff here, as well as my friends, have helped me grow as well.”

When Perkins was announced as this year’s homecoming king, he said he was overwhelmed.

“It was unbelievable,” Perkins said. “I didn’t know who they were going to say over the intercom. Everyone that was down there on the field are my friends and were just deserving as I was. I really didn’t expect, I was confident, but I wasn’t cocky or anything. I really couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic.”

Charlie Gordon, SOAR counselor and a brother of Alpha Tau Omega, said that Perkins deserved being crowned.

“Mark is great,” Gordon said. “He really is the best person ever. Homecoming king is not a popularity contest, it’s just your fellow students seeing something in you, and seeing you as a leader. It’s cool that I know and work with someone who the campus feels represents us in the best way possible.