Kirby Perkins was a great political reporter, a lot of fun and a good friend. He died of a heart attack 14 years ago at the shockingly young age of 49. While he rubbed elbows with every significant politician of the time, his most lasting public legacy comes from the series of profiles he initiated at Channel 5 called A+.
The station had long done a series called High Five, hailing stand-out athletes who also did well academically. But Kirby believed that society shouldn’t value performance in sports more than performance in academics. So he started the A+ series to celebrate high school students who did well academically, often against great odds. After his death, Channel 5 and Kirby’s widow, Emily Rooney, former Channel 5 news director and now anchor of WGBH’s Greater Boston, started the Kirby Perkins A+ Scholarship Fund, to award scholarships to some of those A+ students. [Full disclosure: my husband, Jim Barron, sits on the board of the Fund.]