Diona Perkins, Class of 1988

Diona Perkins approached every practice, every game with the mentality of a winner.

That mindset drove her success in volleyball, where she was a hitter, blocker and defensive specialist through the full rotation; in basketball as a point guard; and in softball as a third baseman.

“Diz” was a triple-threat athlete in each of her four years at Kent County High School, serving as a captain in all three sports in her senior year, and culminated an all-star career with being named the outstanding female athlete in the Class of 1988.

She also was a winner off the court, consistently qualifying for the academic honor roll and being selected homecoming queen.

The intangibles of optimism, perseverance, hard work and commitment to her school and her teammates defined Diona as much as her natural athletic ability.

“I loved the camaraderie and being a part of a team. I loved to go to practice and play in the games. That’s what I lived for,” she said.

Diona said she had a “winner’s mentality,” i.e., “always being optimistic we would win by doing the extra play, giving up my body to put/keep the ball in play, or pushing everyone in practice to give more.”

Maintaining a positive attitude couldn’t always have been easy, especially in her senior year of basketball when the rookie head coach quit in midseason, four players handed in their uniforms and there seemed to be one calamity after another.

Things were a little rocky in softball that spring as well, when the Trojans sputtered down the backstretch after opening the season with six wins in a row.

The outcome seemed less important to Diona than what she put into it.

“No matter what sport I was playing, I left everything on the court or the field. I pushed to do one more play,” she said, describing playing hard as “an endorphin rush and one of the best feelings.”

Diona took that work ethic to Towson State University, where she made the volleyball team as a walk-on. She earned a degree in business management with a minor in international business.

She subsequently earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nursing from LaSalle University, while juggling a full-time job and motherhood, and is a registered nurse providing home health care.

Diona lives in Newark, Delaware.

She’s now in her 27th year at McKean High School in Wilmington, where she is a driver’s education instructor.

In an interview leading up to her hall of fame induction, she said: “I bled blue and gold back then and still represent wherever I go. I’m so proud to be a KCHS Trojan.”

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