Some high school seniors take a few months in the last year to sweat out if, and where, they’ll go to college.
Carlisle County product Stephen King may be the rare senior to know for 99.9 percent certain he’s admitted to college.
See King, 17, is already a college student. The Carlisle County High School senior enrolled in the Gatton Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology as a junior. That’s a program through Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green that lets selected high school juniors enroll in college classes, live on campus, and earn 60 college credits in math and science courses.
The 60 credit hours coming in look good to admission boards, but the experience comes with a price, King said.
“It’s really fun,” King said by phone from his dorm room. “It has been a challenge. With all this freedom we also have to remember there is homework to be done. It’s been a little overwhelming.”
It’s that work ethic, along with a 4.0 grade-point average and mentor skills, that helped King land Teen of the Week honors.
King, son of Mark and Stacy King, 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.
King’s ability to balance new-found college life freedom with studying at age 16 is impressive enough.
That he makes the university’s dean’s list while playing ultimate Frisbee, and participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters, puts him over the top.
“I really enjoyed it,” King said about being a mentor to a young boy. “I learned a lot, and it was really interesting to be around someone younger. We finished all homework before any other activities.”
Psychology and the school’s culinary club are two of the many avenues he’s enjoyed opening up to at college. That he has the maturity to do so doesn’t surprise Angel Thompson, Carlisle County High School counselor. Thompson said King is one of the few students mature enough to handle a Gatton Academy experience, and his impressive qualities don’t stop there.
“Stephen is a member of Mississippi Baptist Church in Bardwell,” Thompson said. “He is very active in all youth and church activities when he is home from school.”
King is mulling over his future college plans, which includes Duke University in North Carolina as his top choice.
He hopes to pursue degrees in psychology and sociology.
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.