LAUREL BLACK | The Sun
Victoria Potter is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week.
Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week VIDEO
The Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week for Jan. 21, Victoria Potter
Most people feel a bit nervous when addressing a crowd, and some even freeze in fear at the thought of it.
Victoria Potter is not like most people.
The Paducah Tilghman High School senior can make a speech in front of a large audience with minimal preparation. She does it often as a member of her school’s speech and debate team, and believes this ability is one of her greatest assets.
“I feel like I could stand up and talk to a thousand people now and I wouldn’t have a bit of anxiety,” Potter said.
Victoria Potter, daughter of Keith and Tammy Potter, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees whom guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submit 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 University or a cash award of $2,500, paid through the Paducah Sun, if the student selects another college to attend.
When she worked as head page for the U.S. Senate last summer, Potter observed that many of her fellow pages were involved in their schools’ speech teams. She doesn’t think that’s a coincidence. Poise under pressure is a crucial trait for any leader.
The ability will help in her career, Potter believes, and is already paying off in terms of leadership roles at her school. Along with being captain of the mock trial and speech and debate teams, Potter is president of the student council and the Spanish club.
For her, these titles aren’t just words on a résumé. From organizing blood drives to developing a tutoring program for struggling football players, Potter takes every opportunity to make things happen around Tilghman.
Most recently, Potter helped to organize a forum with local city commission and mayoral candidates during the election year.
She said about 150 students and at least 25 other members of the community used the opportunity to pose questions to the candidates. One of particular interest to her was, “If you were trying to convince a teen voter to vote for you, what would you tell them?”
Potter considered the event a success, not least of all because it encouraged more than 100 students to register to vote that day.
The student said her interest in politics was a somewhat recent development, but it has nonetheless grown into a passion. She would like to run for office, she said, but worries that if she pursues a career as a politician, she’d lose her taste for it. She plans on studying to be a patent lawyer instead.
“Politics will always be a passion, and if there’s ever the opportunity, I will be jumping all over it. (But) I don’t want to not enjoy reading the autobiographies of political leaders,” she said.
Potter doesn’t list cheerleading among her passions, but it’s obvious from speaking to her — and reading her list of achievements in the sport — that it holds a place in her heart.
“It’s one of those sports where (the team) just comes together so quickly. Throughout all of the goofiness, and all of the really superficial cheerleading things, you find that you have this bond,” she said.
Potter also runs track and plays tennis, but cheerleading is special to her because her mother coaches the team.
“My mom doesn’t know a lot about speech, and she’s not as into politics ... but I know I can always sit down and talk to her about what happened in practice that day,” Potter said.
As for her dad? Potter said the two stay in touch — sometimes in Spanish — via Skype.
She said her father jokes about wishing to be a lifelong student, and noted how he had shaped her attitude toward school.
“He never gets tired of knowledge, and I think that’s caused me to value my education more,” she said.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.