"You just sit there and wait for something awful to happen," Simmons said of his time guarding the pool at Oak Hills Country Club in Clinton. "I only had to jump in once."
The Graves County High School senior said he prefers work that allows him to work closely with people, such as his position as a reading assistant at Central Elementary School. "I feel like we really made a difference in those kids' lives. Some of them don't get attention at home, or don't get read to ... it was great to be able to work with those kids," he said.
John Preston Simmons, son of Jay and Kim Simmons, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees who guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submit 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.
From helping fellow Boy Scouts complete their Eagle Scout projects to mentoring freshmen at his high school, Simmons brings a compassionate touch to everything he does. "I really like being able to interact with people, and being able to help people at the same time," he said.
This attitude will prove useful as Simmons — who has received recognition as an AP Scholar with Distinction and a Governor's Scholar — pursues his post-secondary education. He hopes to major in a scientific field and then enter medical school. His top college choices are Yale University and Vanderbilt University.
"I'm not looking to have an easy college career," Simmons said. "I think it'd be great to be surrounded by people who love learning."
Call Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.
Teen of the Week — Nominations are accepted only from guidance counselors. — If you are interested in the scholarship program, contact your guidance counselor. — Nominations are reviewed by The Paducah Sun. — For questions contact Kendra Mitchell at 270-575-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.