Although Durbin doesn’t mind taking on academic challenges — she boasts a perfect GPA and has several advanced placement credits to her name — her real passion lies in performing.
Alyssa Durbin, daughter of Lori and Mark Durbin, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees who 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.
Durbin was selected by audition to the Governor’s School for the Arts, where she studied musical theater. The residential summer program in Lexington gives more than 200 high school students in Kentucky the opportunity to study their chosen art form, free of charge, for three weeks. Durbin said her participation in GSA gave her a better idea of the career options available to her.
The performer is already making forays into the teaching field. She currently works at the Mainstage School of Performing Arts in Lone Oak, where she instructs children aged 8 to 11.
Durbin admires the innocence of youth — “I’m a big 5-year-old inside,” she said — and urges those she teaches to enjoy their childhoods while they can.
For Durbin, the performing arts also offer a way to connect with others on a spiritual level.
“The only thing stronger than her voice is her faith,” said Stephanie Carter, a Lone Oak High School English teacher.
An active member of Lone Oak First Baptist Church, Durbin incorporates her faith into her artistic pursuits through mission programs such as the Christian Theater Camp in Atlanta.
“It was so rewarding to see them get to learn,” Durbin said of the children she worked with during the mission trip.
She plans to open a Christian musical theater school after she has completed her own performance career — possibly as a greeter at Disney World.
“I want to use my gifts to inspire people and make them feel good,” she said.
Call Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.
Teen of the Week
— Nominations are accepted only from guidance counselors.
— If you are interested in the scholarship program, contact your guidance counselor.
— Nominations are reviewed by The Paducah Sun.
— For questions contact Kendra Mitchell at 270-575-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.