ST. PETERSBURG – What does it take to win? If you ask Peyton Lockley, recent graduate of Gibbs High School, she will tell you that hard work, planning and faith are vital ingredients in the recipe for success.
Friends and family have always viewed her as the winner she is, but it is her faith in God that gives her the confidence to know exactly where she’s going and how she plans to get there.
“My faith is important to me, and my love for God is reflected in all aspects of my life,” explained Peyton. “You have to take life as it is; forget what it could’ve been and have faith in what it will be.”
Peyton is a member of the 2018 Gibbs High School graduating class and had planned for that big moment long before she walked crossed the stage. As an underclassman, she made a personal decision to get better grades and become a consistent honor roll student. She worked hard in class and used the help available at school, after-school tutoring and Saturday school.
“Peyton is a winner; she succeeds at everything she does. Her success comes with lots of hard work,” said Ottesha Williams, Peyton’s mother. “She figured out a long time ago that she had to work hard, sometimes harder than her peers. She never complained she just did the work!”
It is that can-do attitude and humble spirit that carries Peyton forward. More than just intellect, she has an energy that resonates with everyone she encounters. Seeing other people happy will make her happy even if her day is not going well.
“She has a spirit that others gravitate towards,” said Ryan Williams, Peyton’s father. “She walks into a room, and everyone wants to be her friend.”
Peyton was very active in school athletics as a member of the varsity cheerleading squad and track team. She highlights the All-Star Game, a major countywide sporting event where cheerleaders and football players who have performed exceptionally throughout the season are selected to compete against one another.
Equally as involved outside of school, Peyton was an all-star cheerleader and a senior dancer for Kali Kali Dance Company, a nationally recognized entertainment company based in St. Pete. She has traveled across the United States sharing her gift of dance with the world.
She highlights her involvement and mentorship from friends, coaches and parents as a pivotal force in her success. Through her participation in entertainment and athletics, Peyton learned responsibility and discipline, transferable skills that will carry her on her voyage to success.
Just as mentors have poured into her life, Peyton is sure to pay it forward by giving back to the community. Through her involvement, she has participated in many community service projects and has also volunteered at Nana’s Daycare twice a week for the past three years.
“I am very aware that no matter how busy you are, you always have time to give back,” she averred.
She is determined to leave her legacy in the community, and it doesn’t end here. Peyton has always known she wanted to pursue higher education, so she participated in Mt. Zion College Preparation program to supplement what she was learning in school.
Peyton will attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanics University to study informational technology, and of course, she already has a plan before she gets there.
“Being a successful student is only part of your college career. It is the time to explore and investigate into who you truly want to be,” she explained. “I intend on building lifelong relationships and building a brand for myself that will include my purpose and benefit others around me.”
College-bound, she has a busy and fruitful road ahead of her. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she plans to attend graduate school. She also plans to travel and invest in real estate while starting her own business. Eventually, she would like to build her own home.
While her order seems tall, Peyton is sure to let you know that she’s only getting started. Her parents look forward to where her journey will lead.
“This is only the beginning for me; I am going to be much more then what you see now,” Peyton finished.