Never forget the journey

By Dexter McCree, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – Destiny McCullum leaves a royal legacy as she is now a 2018 Gibbs High School graduate. Humbled by her achievement, she will never forget the journey it took to get to that very moment.

As a child, Destiny struggled to stay focus on the task at hand. When it came to doing her homework, she would find other things to do. It was a constant struggle and one that needed to be addressed.

In her first year at a fundamental middle school, she experienced a few challenges.

“I didn’t do my homework on time; there were no signatures from my mother on my work, and I intentionally avoided having conversations about school,” she recalled.

In the seventh grade, Destiny made a decision to take her academics a little more serious. She improved her focus and felt she was finally getting the hang of things. Her grades began to turn around.

“I was turning in my work on time, my grades improved and I finally felt comfortable with where I was in life,” Destiny explained, though her life would quickly change only a year later.

At the start of her eighth-grade year, her grandfather and aunt fell sick weeks apart from one another. Her mother had just begun a new job and would now split her time between two different hospitals after work.

As a result, she wasn’t around much and would usually arrive home after Destiny was already asleep. However, Destiny was not alone. Her older brothers were there for support, but it wasn’t like having her mom there to tell her to finish her work, study, read and prepare for school the next day.

As time went by, things did not get better. Her grandfather passed away on November 29, 2013, and her aunt passed away only a week later. With such major events, Destiny began to feel depressed.

“I felt as if my heart was shattered,” she recalled. “It was hard for me to keep a clean and positive mindset throughout my eighth-grade year.”

Soon things would change again, this time for the better. As Destiny entered high school, she knew it was her time to make her family proud. Her aunt, Shirley Proctor Puller, was a highly recognized educator in Pinellas County and Destiny was determined to make her smile.

She began setting goals for herself, with the ultimate goal of attending college.

Destiny had quite an eventful and accomplished high school career. She is a 2018 graduate from the Business, Economics and Technology Academy at Gibbs High School where she also earned her Photoshop certification. She holds the distinction of being crowned Homecoming Queen during the school’s 90th anniversary.

“I’m not only making good grades but also pursuing my dreams,” Destiny said.

She has been accepted into Florida Agricultural Mechanical University where she plans to major in business management.  After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she will pursue a degree in interior design from Savannah College of the Arts and Design with further plans to start her own interior design business.

Though the road hasn’t been easy, it has been worth it for Destiny and her parents, Rodney and Juliette McCullum. She is proof that perseverance will bring you through any obstacle, and you’ll never forget the journey.

Jah’tia Haynes contributed to this story.

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