Don’t mess with Parker Shields.
The 18-year-old Paducah Tilghman High School senior competed in power lifting until his sophomore year. He broke the national power lifting record in October 2008 and the state power lifting record a year later.
Shields has a few other skills in his repertoire. Business sense, for example. Shields has already completed a summer internship with a private equity firm in Boston. He also enjoys travel, plays piano and is fluent in Croatian. To find out how Shields mastered Croatian, watch the video interview at paducahsun.com.
Shields is president of the school choir and has been a part of the Tilghman men’s a cappella singing group, Prime Rib, since 2008. Shields is also president of the school’s chapter of the National Honors Society, which takes on many community services projects each year, including bell ringing for the Salvation Army and other monthly projects. Shields has also been a member of the academic team since 2001.
With all these activities, it’s hard to believe that Shields maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and is on track to be named valedictorian at graduation. He earned perfect scores on the math and reading portions of the ACT and scored a 34 composite in 2010.
Shields’ teachers have taken notice of his dedication and ambition.
Susan Hancock, a Paducah Tilghman English teacher, said, “Parker possesses the natural curiosity to learn of the intelligent, and he often goes beyond the classroom to discover more. There is never a need to motivate Parker; he sets high goals for himself, and he realizes that mastering the details ensures that he achieve these goals.”
Erin Hayden, an Advanced Placement American government teacher, agrees.
“Although I have only Parker for a year or so at this point, I can honestly say that he is a role-model student all day, every day, and he is one of the most pleasant teenagers I have ever encountered in my years of teaching,” Hayden said.
Shields, son of Drs. Eric and Daniela Shields, 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.
Shields has left his career path, area of study and even his college choice open for now. He is considering studying business and has received acceptance letters from Rhodes College in Memphis, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Louisville. He awaits responses from three other universities.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.