The Island Eye News

A May Day Memorial For Mayor Perkis

By Sally Dunaway, Island Eye News Staff Writer

Photos by Steve Rosamilia

“All future mayors of Sullivan’s Island will be measured for their performance against the highest standard set by Mayor Mike Perkis.”
Jerry Kaynard

On Friday, May 22 island residents tapped their toes to the arm-swinging, heel-kicking musical extravaganza that was the Sullivan’s Island Elementary School’s Street Dedication and Annual May Day Celebration. In honor of the late Mayor Perkis, who was instrumental in bringing the new sea-side campus into existence, the street leading to the school grounds was named “Perkis Place.” With three great “hoorahs,” prompted by Town Administrator Andy Benke, the students “let the Perkis family know how fun it [has been] learning in this new school.”

All future mayors of Sullivan’s Island will be measured for their performance against the highest standard set by Mayor Mike Perkis,” Jerry Kaynard, councilmember and dedication officiator, said in commemoration of Perkis’ dedication to the island. Mayor Perkis’ children Josh and Laurie Perkis, received the sign with a heartfelt acceptance, Josh adding that his father “would have been very much embarrassed by all this, and very proud.” And with one great blast from the speakers, and a leap from the surprised audience, music began.

Each grade of pageanteers introduced a nautical class theme before singing and dancing to the various catchy tunes ranging from “Oceans of Fun,” “Under the Sea,” and “Here Come the Lobsters,” coordinated by music teacher, Julie Mathias.

Proud parents Beth and Randall Fleming gleamed at the sight of their three boys, Harrison (5th Grade), Landon (4th Grade), and Tanner (kindergarten) grooving to the beach beats. “It’s always fun seeing my 5th grader enjoying learning to dance,” Randall, a local basketball and volleyball coach said, adding that he had imagined his son more likely to “hold his breath” than perform before the crowd. The performance closed with the traditional May Pole Dance.

Partners linked arms, hopped, and spun with tethered streamers, weaving intricate patterns down the flowered May Poles. Fifth grader Anna Grace Dyer beamed at the fifth grade honor, saying she “loved getting to weave ribbons onto the pole.”

The new campus’ first May Day Celebration and street dedication was an event to be “long remembered by everyone” present, said Kaynard. And, judging by the resounding ovations, the Sullivan’s Island community agreed.