Science, arts, clubs and sports - Teen of the Week Mallory McGinnis is involved in just about everything around her school.
The senior at Massac County High School in Metropolis, Ill., describes herself as hopeful, outgoing and someone who always strives to reach for the highest standards and goals.
"I've lived by one of my dad's favorite sayings - he would rather have a happy B student than a stressed out A student," she said.
McGinnis, daughter of Warren and Wanda McGinnis, 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.
She is the co-president of the school's Key Club, student council secretary and a member of the Health Occupations Students of America, Art Club, Spanish Club and Future Farmers of America.
McGinnis spends much of her available time giving back with community service activities through National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and local churches in Metropolis. She served as a huddle leader for FCA sports camp.
"It's rewarding to teach sports through a Christian-based attitude," she said. "We tell the kids to be relentless and never give up when trying to reach your goals."
She also volunteered her time along with many community members to help neighbors protect their homes with sandbags during the area floods in 2011.
"We worked from sun up to sun down for a week straight but it was worth it to see the community come together as one," she said.
The multisport student athlete has participated in softball, basketball, volleyball, bowling, tennis and soccer in high school. She lists softball as her favorite and has played since she was 5. One of her favorite high school memories was the softball team going undefeated until sectionals during her junior year.
McGinnis said sports has taught her many valuable lessons, including teamwork, relationship building and time management.
"I love having the opportunity to wear my school uniform and enjoy the family atmosphere that goes along with being a member of a team," she said.
The 4.0 grade-point average student lists health science classes, specifically chemistry, as her favorites. But she also loves to embrace her artistic side in pottery class.
"Pottery allows me to embrace my creativity and create anything that I want to without limits," she said.
As a senior, McGinnis has been named to the National Honor Society and is an Illinois State Scholar. Massac County teachers describe her as a creative overachiever with a strong work ethic.
She hopes to pursue a career in occupational therapy and follow the footsteps of many of her immediate family members. Her mother works as a nurse, her sister is a radiologist and several of her cousins are physical therapists.
"I've always wanted to help people and you can do that in the health field." she said. "I'm very family-based and have always tried to live up to the expectations of my older sister."
She cited the strong support of family members, friends, teachers and counselors as the reason for her success in academics while maintaining her positive and fun personality. McGinnis said her strong support system will be difficult to leave but she is excited for her next step in life.
"My favorite memory will be the entire senior year, getting support from my teachers and counselors and seeing where all my classmates are headed next year," she said. "It has been the hardest year but definitely the most fulfilling."
McGinnis plans to attend Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Ill., and then continue to a four-year college. She hopes to stay in the Massac County area and contribute to her native community.
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.