One snapshot moment sums up a lot of why Eric Butterbaugh, a senior at St. Mary High School, is this week’s Murray State University Teen of the Week.
Last week, Butterbaugh stepped into Penn Station East Coast Subs on New Holt Road to take orders and make sandwiches with his former co-workers, whom he considers friends.
It’s work he enjoyed cramming around maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average and his varsity soccer career.
But last week, Butterbaugh wasn’t a Penn Station employee. After working there for more than two years he had to quit last year to participate in the Governor’s Scholar program, apply to colleges and handle a tough-as-calculus senior year course schedule.
So, yes, Butterbaugh worked that night impromptu and unpaid.
“I still go by there (Penn Station) sometimes,” Butterbaugh said. “The other day I just showed up in my uniform and started working for free just because I missed going back there. ... It’s pretty awesome.”
An after-school hours job is pretty awesome? Working for free? Who does that?
Apparently, a Teen of the Week.
Butterbaugh, son of Tom and Cindy Butterbaugh, 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.
“What I’ll remember about Eric is he was so highly involved beyond the classroom,” said Steve Rich, St. Mary dean of students.
Butterbaugh’s litany of clubs and accomplishments is impressive:
Four years in the school’s advanced orchestra as a violinist. “I’ve actually wanted to play the violin since I can remember,” Butterbaugh said. “My great-grandfather played the fiddle, so I got to play his violin, and it’s a 50-year-old handmade violin.”
He’s an Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts, which also led to him being a Kentucky Colonel. “I was bragging to my dad about it,” Butterbaugh said. “I tell him to call me colonel from now on.”
Class president all four years in high school. The secret to landing that position every year: “Don’t make anybody mad,” Butterbaugh said.
Helped restart the Drama Club, served as National Honor Society president this year and is vice president of the Spanish Club.
That Butterbaugh did so while excelling academically makes the accomplishments remarkable.
He expanded his horizons at Bellarmine University in Louisville, taking a films studies class as part of the Governor’s Scholar program.
Butterbaugh wants to study chemistry at the University of Kentucky and aims for a graduate degree in pharmacy.
If he keeps the same work ethic and attitude he shows at St. Mary, Butterbaugh is likely to achieve the goals he sets.
“My mom and my dad, they’ve always volunteered for everything, they can’t say no,” Butterbaugh said. “And it’s kind of the same thing how I want to push myself to do all I can in school.”
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.