Commitment leads to outstanding student award
MURRAY — It was showing another level of commitment that garnered Nicholas S. Calhoon another honor from the Sun and Murray State University.
Calhoon, a Calloway County High School senior, received Teen of the Year honors Thursday night at a banquet in the Murray Room at MSU.
“I really wasn’t expecting to get it,” said Calhoon, whom the Sun selected as one of 33 Teens of the Week this year. Each Monday, from September to May, the Sun featured an article highlighting an outstanding student as part of its Newspapers in Education program.
The 17-year-old football captain and 4.0 grade-point average student will receive a $5,000 scholarship to Murray State, where Calhoon plans to attend next fall on an Army ROTC scholarship.
Family and friends joined a host of the weekly award winners for the banquet Thursday, all of whom made choosing a scholarship recipient difficult, according to Gary Adkisson, Sun business manager.
Adkisson said a student landing the weekly award is accomplishment enough.
About 2,500 seniors graduated from a high school in the Sun’s coverage area this year, Adkisson said. Applications came in from 19 high schools, and selected students represented 14 of them.
“The decision (for Teen of the Year) was very difficult this time,” Adkisson said. “In the end we wanted a student who was well-rounded, a whole person. ... Nick is that. He showed a whole different level of commitment that was needed to excel.”
It wasn’t just Calhoon’s academic and athletic record or his time spent serving in church mission trips that impressed the Teen of the Year committee.
It was also what he overcame to pursue those experiences. Calhoon’s mother died in 2006 after a lifelong battle with drug and alcohol addiction. Calhoon lived with a football coach at times while his father was away on business for extended periods.
“A lot of times with the family that I’ve had,” Calhoon said before pausing, “I’ve seen how mistakes can lead you. With that I’ve been able to learn from their mistakes and see the right way, to see what I need to do to get there.”
Some of those most supportive in his life attended the banquet: Calhoon’s football coaches, Eddie Morris and Josh McKeel, his stepmother Tabethia Johnson, little sister Drake Calhoon and girlfriend Katie Underwood.
“When you talk about that total person, that fits Nick really well,” Morris said. “Nick is a genuine kid. That’s probably one of his greatest attributes. There’s nothing fake about him.”
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.
“The decision (for Teen of the Year) was very difficult this time. In the end we wanted a student who was well-rounded, a whole person. ... Nick is that. He showed a whole different level of commitment that was needed to excel.”
Business manager, The Paducah Sun