MURRAY, Ky. — Michael Orr is so impressive that he almost won the High School Heisman without ever playing football.
Granted, this non-collegiate Heisman doesn’t require football participation, but rather recognizes high school athletes with stellar academic and service achievements. Which is why Orr was a state finalist for the honor in 2009.
The Murray High School senior’s 4.0 grade-point average ranks him at the top of his class academically. During four years of leading the school’s soccer, track and cross country squads, Orr made time to serve as an officer in the school’s Spanish Club and Y-Club, a service organization.
He also walks dogs with the Beta Club, and participated in the Governor’s Scholar Program.
“I get bored really easily, so I like to keep myself busy,” Orr said. “If I’m studying or playing sports, hanging out with friends, whatever. I just like to be doing something all the time.”
That Orr stays so busy at such a high level helps make him Teen of the Week.
Orr, son of Scott and Michelle Orr, 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.
Orr’s teachers aren’t surprised when they see him stand out and lead in and out of the classroom.
“Michael is a hard-working student with a winning personality,” teacher Robbie Shelby said. “And (he has) a natural perceptiveness about people that allows him to rise to a leadership role in almost any situation.”
That perceptiveness and leadership shows in the awards Orr’s own team bestows upon him.
It takes a certain balance and maturity to be named Mr. Consistency by your cross country team and Most Valuable Defensive Player last year in soccer, while also making all-district soccer teams and being a two-time pole vault state qualifier.
It’s a well-rounded quality that has Orr donating time through Future Business Leaders of America, mowing yards as he has the past six years and working in the summer making snow cones at Paradise Snow.
So it’s not surprising the student with top finishes in physics and history competitions is interested in studying biology in college. Orr is considering attending the University of Louisville, which awarded him a Hallmark Scholarship, which pays tuition and room and board. Murray State University awarded Orr its Presidential Fellowship, which pays similar costs.
Bellarmine University in Louisville, Centre College in Danville and the University of Kentucky also are on Orr’s list.
“There’s plenty of places. I’m just waiting for all of the info to come in,” Orr said.
Shelby said the outcome of Orr’s decision would be similar wherever he attends.
“His ability to excel in any profession he chooses to pursue seems to be beyond doubt.”
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.