The Carlisle County High School senior illustrates that way of thinking in her personality, community service work, frequent summer mission trips and status as a leader in her school.
"I make it my goal to make someone else's day better by giving them a compliment or helping them with their math homework if they need it," Hicks said. "If I can make someone smile... then my day is made."
Hicks' involvement in her school stretches to nearly every extra-curricular activity. Hicks, who calls herself a chameleon, said she wanted to try many different clubs and groups during freshman year and choose her favorites but ended up enjoying everything.
Hicks, daughter of Jeff and Becky Hicks, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submitted 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.
Hicks balances a 3.95 grade-point average with five years of volleyball, two as varsity captain, leaderships positions in her high school as freshman and sophomore class president and drama club president. She is currently the school chapter and Purchase region president for the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization. She also works part time as a waitress at the 51 Grill restaurant in Bardwell.
Her favorite aspect of her involvement in clubs, organizations and her job is the avenue each one provides to meet new people, build connections and lasting relationships. She said through FFA conferences she has met and made new friends across the state. She lists her positions on the FFA executive council, winning the Outstanding Leadership Award at the Kentucky Leadership Training Center for two consecutive years, membership in National Beta Club and her participation in STARS, Students Taking Action Resisting Substances, as some of her many high school favorite moments.
Hicks' friendly, outgoing nature will seen on the campus of Murray State University next fall, where she plans on majoring in Exercise Science and attending graduate school for a career as an occupational therapist. She learned about the profession through one of her three sisters who is currently working as an occupational therapist. Hicks said her career path reflects her love of science as well as her desire to help others.
She will begin her freshman year with 25 hours of credit from high school dual-credit courses. According to Hicks, Murray State offers a chance to branch out from her lifelong home and the cornfields of Carlisle County but close enough to visit her family and friends.
"I've been in the same grade with the same people since preschool... going from a class of 45 to a class of hundreds will be a culture shock at first, but I think I'll adjust to it," she said.
Outside school, Hicks enjoys watching suspense and dramatic movies and participating in activities and trips with the Bethlehem Baptist Church youth group. She has traveled to Louisville and Mobile, Ala., and will travel to South Carolina next summer through ministry programs featuring service to members or places in a community.
Hicks is looking forward to enjoying all the perks of her senior year, including prom, project graduation and continuing to lead her school in a positive direction.
"Its stinks having to see my friends go but hopefully we will all keep in touch and hopefully I'll make more friends when I move off," she said.
Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.