Jayden Perkins, scholarship, Gus Giordano Dance School

Slain 11-Year-Old Has Dance Scholarship Created In His Honor

The 11-year-old boy who lost his life trying to protect his mother will have a dance scholarship named in his honor.

The 11-year-old boy who died trying to protect his mother from a serial domestic abuser will have a dance scholarship named in his honor.

Jayden Perkins was stabbed to death March 13 when trying to protect his pregnant mother from being fatally stabbed by her paroled ex. Jayden was a celebrated dancer at Gus Giordano Dance School in Chicago.

To honor Jayden’s life and legacy at the dance school, it will host a benefit on Thursday, May 16, to raise funds for the Jayden Perkins Memorial Scholarship, Block Club Chicago reports. It’s the first scholarship named after a dancer in the school’s 70-year history.

The surprise recipient of the new scholarship will be named at the event. The student dancer was friends with Jayden and will receive full coverage for dance training, shoes, attire, travel to showcases, and other expenses.

“This gives us the chance to always remember who Jayden was,” Amy Giordano, the dance school’s executive director, said. “He was always present and engaged, and for that you should be rewarded.”

Jayden was a celebrated dancer at the school who rarely missed a class and “raised the level of every person in the room,” Giordano said. He was just 8 years old when he joined the school and became a standout as one of the school’s 13 male dancers out of 100 students.

“I’ve never seen a child so young have such a strong sense of self,” Giordano said. “He took the opportunity to come here and made the best of it. Working with Jayden, you saw a respect for learning, even when it was difficult.”

Crosetti Brand was charged with Jayden’s murder and with the attempted murder of his pregnant mother on Monday, May 13. Brand was paroled after serving eight years of a 16-year sentence for attacking a different ex-partner.

Testimony from Jayden’s 5-year-old brother recalls Brand arriving at their home around 8 a.m. while the boys were getting ready for school. Brand reportedly barged into the home and began stabbing their mother before Jayden jumped in to protect her and was fatally stabbed.

Brand, who is representing himself in court, had been under a court order to stay away from Jayden’s mother. The new charges prompted a shakeup at the state Prison Review Board where the board chair and another member resigned in March.

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