Ruth Wooten does not act her age.
But that’s a good thing. Wooten, a 17-year-old Lone Oak High School senior, displays a mature demeanor comparable to someone twice her age. Why?
It could be her devotion to education. Wooten boasts a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and is poised to earn the title of valedictorian at graduation this spring. She has so far aced each and every high school class, including five Advanced Placement courses, one of which she took her freshman year. Wooten also earned a 31 ACT composite score and has been on the school’s honor roll for four years.
“Grades are really important,” Wooten said. “They’re up there on my priority list.”
Lone Oak teacher Stephanie Carter knows firsthand just how big of a priority education is to Wooten.
“Achieving academically is not difficult for Ruth,” Carter said. “Inquisitive and insightful, Ruth wants to exhaust the limits of comprehension. She pushes herself to do more than others expect of her because Ruth expects more of herself.”
Or maybe it’s her accomplishments that set Wooten apart. She was a member of the 2010 Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program at Bellarmine University in Louisville, where she studied health care industries for five weeks. Wooten also was named to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association academic all-state team from 2008 to 2010. She earned first place in prepared speaking in the Future Farmers of America regional competition earlier this month and will compete in the state competition in June. Wooten is treasurer of the FFA, whose team won 10 categories at the regional event.
Or perhaps it’s Wooten’s impressive school involvement that has shaped her. Wooten has served as class president for the past three years and is a representative on the McCracken County Superintendent Advisory Board. She also served as a students ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce Business Education Partnership in 2010 and is a four-year member of the school’s volleyball team, for which she was given the leadership award in 2009.
Or it’s possible that her community service efforts have molded Wooten’s character. As president of her school’s chapter of the National Beta Club, Wooten helped organize fundraising efforts for a five-day mission trip to El Salvador to aid orphans and impoverished families in February. To hear Wooten describe the trip, watch the video interview at paducahsun.com. Wooten also volunteers as a videographer at First Baptist Church of Paducah, where she has been a member most of her life, and volunteers in the recovery room at Western Baptist Hospital.
It’s likely that all of these factors played a part, but no matter the reason, Wooten is a superstar student and Teen of the Week.
Ruth Wooten, daughter of Steven and Belinda Wooten, 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.
In the fall, Wooten will attend the University of Louisville, where she will major in nursing. She plans to pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist after earning a graduate degree.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.