You might say Amanda Robinson is like an adult in a teenager’s body.
As she strolled unannounced behind the front desk in Reidland High School’s main office and set down her school bags, I thought, “OK, she’s done this before.” After the office secretary handed Robinson a set of keys, we began walking down the hallway and she explained that she opens the classrooms each morning for the substitute teachers. By that time I realized Robinson was one of those high schoolers that teachers and administrators trust — and for good reason.
Robinson, a 17-year-old senior, has pushed herself to succeed despite a rocky journey along the way. Robinson’s grandmother took her in as a small child after being abandoned by her biological mother. Several years later, Robinson was taken in by another family member, only to be displaced soon after adjusting to her new setting. Robinson has since moved into a stable environment with her aunt in Benton. Robinson and her aunt cared for her grandmother until her death a few months ago.
Retired Reidland High guidance counselor Sherron Cunningham said Robinson’s struggles have only made her stronger.
“Life has given Amanda Robinson several lemons, but instead of becoming bitter, she has made sweet lemonade. I have had the pleasure of knowing Amanda since she was about 3 years old and I am pleased and amazed at what a fine young woman she has become,” Cunningham said.
Robinson boasts a 3.75 grade-point average, which she brought up an entire point in just a semester through old-fashioned hard work.
Because of her hard work and perseverance, Robinson is Teen of the Week.
Robinson, niece of Wilma Robinson, 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.
Amanda Robinson has two loves: football and nursing.
She has been manager of the school’s football team for two years and says it’s one of her favorite parts of the high school experience.
After football season, Robinson will continue volunteering at Lourdes hospital, which she began over the summer.
Becky Higgins, admissions director of Lourdes’ Transitional Care Unit, said Robinson helps with various nurse’s aide duties.
“Amanda is kind, compassionate, sincere and has an overall wonderful personality,” Higgins said. “Amanda is always willing to take on any task we ask her to do.”
Robinson is taking nursing assistant classes at Paducah Area Technical School to get a head start toward her nursing degree. She hopes to attend either Berea College, West Kentucky Community & Technical College or Murray State University in the fall of 2011. She plans to major in nursing and minor in Spanish. Robinson aspires to become a traveling registered nurse after college.
Robinson said her grandmother inspired her to get into nursing.
“When my grandmother passed away, I thought I wanted to be a nurse anyway and she always wanted me to be one, so I thought the teen volunteering would let me know if that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Robinson said.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.