Bright Future: Concordia Parish student of year treasures time in Vidalia

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017


VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish High School Student of the Year said she has loved her time at Vidalia High School for one important, but simple reason; the school is the first place at which the Army child has had an opportunity to settle down.

Destiny Banks, 18, enrolled in Vidalia as a sophomore, and she said the small school is the first place she was able to spend three years. With her mother, Tamea Flores, serving in the U.S. Army for 10 years, Banks had been along for many stops including Corpus Christi, Texas, and Wahiawa, Hawaii.

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“I enjoyed the travel and meeting new people, but the downfall was it was hard to make friends because you knew you’d be gone in a year or two,” Banks said. “I’m glad I got to see more of the country, but socially, it was kind of hard.”

After being named as the high school student of the year, Banks recently was able to vie for the high school student of the region, against students from larger districts such as Monroe. Banks had to write a timed essay and also be part of an interview.

“I am kind of nervous,” Banks said. “When the interviews are so short — 10 minutes — I wonder, did I say enough?

“But whatever the outcome, I will be happy. It was just an honor to make it that far.”

When Banks first learned she was the district high school student of the year, Banks said she was surprised.

“The other person I was going against was a good candidate,” Banks said. “The competition was fierce, so I was happy and proud of myself.”

Part of the application was based on what extracurricular activities students do, said Banks, who is editor of the school yearbook, a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and the Vikings’ color guard.

For FCCLA, Banks said she loves to serve, and the organization has many volunteer opportunities. As a member of the flag and dance team, Banks said she loves to perform and be the “star of the show.”

Becoming editor of the yearbook was not something Banks said she set out to do, but Banks said she needed to take responsibility.

“Last year, the yearbook was not that great,” Banks said. “I wanted to make sure the yearbook we had for our senior year was great.”

Coming from a big school system in Corpus Christi her sophomore year, Banks said adjusting to small town Vidalia was challenging.

“I definitely stuck out at first, and I was nervous,” Banks said. “Most of these students had known each other all of their lives, and I had just came here.

“But they got to know me, and I’ve adjusted pretty well.”

Now three years in, Banks said she has preferred her time at Vidalia, where she has family including her great grandmother, Eva Banks, with whom she lives.

“I like it better here,” she said. “I like that the teachers know my name and that I know everyone in the school. I like how the administration is there when you need them — there’s always someone willing to help.”

Banks said she plans to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, where her uncle Louis Banks attended, to study biology with the goal of becoming a pediatrician and neonatologist. Banks said she would have a full scholarship.

“I have always loved science, and I love kids, too,” Banks said. “I am fascinated with the human body. At first I thought I wanted to be a science teacher, but then I realized I wanted to go into the medical field.”