Since the overwhelming majority of us are not valedictorians, or were ever valedictorian candidates, we can only wonder how it feels.
What would challenge those students who seem to meet every challenge?
Such as Katherine Hooper, senior at Community Christian Academy, who if final grades were entered today would be her class’s valedictorian. The 18-year-old has impeccable grades — a 4.0 grade-point average — qualified for the distinguished Governor's Scholar program last summer and has a service record to match her transcript.
When she isn’t tutoring other students in algebra II and geometry, Hooper is a mentor to other female students in the Girls In Fellowship To Serve (G.I.F.T.S.) Club.
So what is difficult for Hooper?
“I had to take care of my aunt's rose garden during one summer,” Hooper said. “That was a lot of work. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.”
The roses didn’t die, so chalk it up as another accomplishment.
Hooper, daughter of David and Angela Ross and Kelly and Debbie Hooper, is the Murray State University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MSU Teen of the Week selected from nominees submitted by high school guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois. In May, a Teen of the Year will be chosen from the weekly winners, earning a $5,000 scholarship to Murray State. Teen of the Week is part of the Sun’s Newspapers in Education program.
Hooper’s outstanding academic achievement only tells part of her story, said Carolyn Light, CCA counselor.
“All of her teachers have given her A (grades) so far through six semesters,” Light said. “However, all of her teachers would give her As on the transcript if possible for responsibility, dedication to learning, effort, cooperativeness, motivation and her determination to achieve.”
Hooper was a waitress at Pizza Inn for a year while keeping her grades up. She is a four-year National Honor Society member, a cheerleader and can play Christian music hits on the piano from nine years of lessons.
She helps the yearbook staff, and has served as president at some point for the G.I.F.T.S. Club, Youth for Missions Club and Leo Club, a teenage version of Lions Club.
Hooper said she plans to attend the University of Kentucky, and is still mulling over what she will study.
Her experience in the Governor’s Scholar program, which allows high school students to live a college life academically and socially, is a good indication she’ll meet that challenge easily.
“It’s just like a college trial run,” Hooper said of the program. “The first week it was terrifying but toward the end I just didn’t want to leave.”
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.