Savanah Treece might be a native of Paducah but she is a global thinker ready to spread her wings internationally.
The senior in the Keystone National High School homeschool program who previously attended Lone Oak High School has a keen interest in history, international relations and politics gained from her scholastic endeavors and while traveling abroad. Treece said she was drawn to international diplomacy because of her desire to be active in the larger society.
"I love the idea of being heard," she said. "Every teenager should be aware and active because when we turn 18, we get the right to vote. It's up to us as the next generation, which is interesting and daunting at the same time."
The unique learner, who describes herself as a motivated, outgoing perfectionist, stays busy in community activities, service organizations, athletics and in the musical arts while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average. She was on academic honor roll each year and ranked first in her class while attending Lone Oak High School.
Treece, daughter of Randy and Devonda Treece, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different teen selected from nominees submitted to the Sun by guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois. 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.
Through a severe hip injury and other medical issues, Treece persevered through rigorous academic standards, kept a positive and determined attitude and an outward focus toward the community.
She devotes much of her time to community service activities, especially as a mentor and tutor with the local chapter of the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club. She has also volunteered with the Community Kitchen in Paducah, Barbecue on the River, the Hope Unlimited Family Care Center, the Operation Christmas Child program and the local chapter of the Salvation Army.
"I love spending time with the kids and learn so much from them," she said. "They have such a strong, good outlook on life that it's my opportunity to learn too."
She was one of 12 teenagers selected to serve on the National Teen Advisory Council of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. One of her proudest moments was serving as vice president and then being elected president to the Keystone Club, a movement through the club based on academic success, career exploration and community service.
"I went into it knowing no one and just worked hard and gained everyone's respect," she said.
She also serves as the president of the newly relaunched City of Paducah Teen Board that helps facilitate programs in local parks and networks to encourage other teenagers to participate. Treece said serving in various leadership roles has taught her the true meaning of selfless rather than personal action.
"As a president, I learned it's all about listening and knowing that you have to act in the best interests of the group as a whole," she said. "You have to put the needs of the group above any personal perceptions."
Treece was a top performer in the McCracken County Teen Court program and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Beta Club, Generation Joshua Club, and was sophomore class vice president at Lone Oak High School. She played tennis and was the youngest ever team captain when the Lone Oak tennis team won the state title during her sophomore year.
She also plays the oboe in the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and sings in the Paducah Youth Chorus. Her love of singing and playing multiple musical instruments began at home with her mother, who is a professional musician.
"The one rule I have in my car is that you have to let me sing," she said.
Treece hasn't selected a college yet but Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Xavier in Cincinnati, the University of Kentucky in Lexington and the University of Louisville are still on her list, and she is waiting to hear about several scholarships that she is finalist to win. She plans to double major in political science and international studies with a minor in French and possibly other languages including Russian or Arabic.
She hopes to study abroad and values the many benefits of travel. After college she plans to attend a graduate program for international politics or law school for a career working in a foreign embassy. She has traveled to Austria through the People to People International Ambassador Program and to Romania through a mission trip.
"I can't wait to get my foot in the door, to find new extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities," she said. "I just want to be active and learn."
Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.