Nicholas Spicer brings his quiet confidence and respectful nature to his school work, extracurricular activities and part-time job.
The Paducah Tilghman High School senior spends much of his time studying for his tough courseload. Spicer is one of three National Merit Scholar semifinalists, who are in the running to become finalists, at Tilghman. He is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS) and has taken eight Advanced Placement (AP) classes, four during his senior year.
Along with NHS, the 4.0 grade-point-average student has been named to the honor roll each year. He lists the natural and social sciences as his favorite classes and hopes to pursue a career in the engineering or medical field.
"Picking a favorite subject is difficult, because every year I have had a new favorite," he said. "I've always liked biology and psychology and learning about how the human body and the world works."
Spicer, son of Donald and Regina Spicer, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submitted to the Sun. Mid-Continent University will provide each Teen of the Week with a $2,500 annual scholarship to its university, which is renewable for four years.
In the spring, a Teen of the Year will be chosen from the weekly winners. The Teen of the Year is eligible for a full four-year scholarship to Mid-Continent or a cash award of $2,500, paid through the Paducah Sun, if the student selects another college to attend.
Spicer has excelled in the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp. (NJROTC) program, serving in several leadership roles throughout high school including administrative and executive officer and as a member of the drill, academic and physical fitness teams. He is currently the cadet commanding officer and an academic team captain. With Spicer as team leader, the scholastic team received some of the highest academic scores in school history.
He said the position entails coordination of the award-winning school unit including running programs, directing the color guard presentations and compiling the year-end reports. Spicer lists being named the NJROTC commander as one of his proudest high school moments. He was the recipient of the Order of the Purple Heart Leadership Award, Scottish American Military Award and the Freedom Foundation Award.
"I've loved the program and just wanted to stay a part of it all four years," Spicer said.
Spicer also serves as the commentary editor and a writer for the school newspaper, the Tilghman Bell, and has served on the school student council, speech and mock trial teams and played center on basketball team for two years.
Outside of the school building and when he isn't busy with homework, Spicer gives back to the community with programs through NHS and NJROTC and has volunteered at Project Hope Animal Shelter in Metropolis, Ill.; Seamen's Church Institute; the Salvation Army in Paducah; and the local Dragon Boat Races. He said some of his favorite service activities have been reaching out to community members with tokens or words of thanks including packing holiday baskets for river workers, writing for the letters to Santa program and participating in school fairs and carnivals.
The busy teen also has held a part-time job stocking, filling orders and cutting fabric at Hancock's Paducah since last May. He worked prior to that during the quilt shows, and his work ethic and friendly manners made a good impression on store owners. His main hobby is building and painting miniature figurines, a skill he learned from a friend and his mother, who works as a painter.
"It was so great to see the results of my work and to have that physical thing to show off and be proud of," he said.
His plans includes attending the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville and majoring in bio-medical engineering. The concentration combines his interest in engineering and a possibility for a future career in the medical field, like his father, who works at a urologist at Lourdes hospital and Baptist Health Paducah.
"I'm excited to branch out on my own ... there is a lot of nervous excitement, but excitement mostly to try something new and find out about the college experience," he said.
Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.
Teen of the Week
n Nominations are accepted only from guidance counselors.
n If you are interested in the scholarship program, contact your guidance counselor.
n Nominations are reviewed by The Paducah Sun.
n For questions contact Kendra Mitchell at 270-575-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.