MAYFIELD — Kelsey Hopkins is not your average jock.
Sure, the 17-year-old Graves County High School senior is captain of the Lady Eagles basketball team, but helping others is her real passion.
She volunteers as a mentor for freshmen at her school and also as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army at Christmas.
“I love ringing the bell for the Salvation Army because in front of all of our local stores, you get to meet so many people standing there and it just gives you a feeling of hope and joy to see so many people donate their paycheck and their money to less fortunate families just so they can have a little bit more for the holidays.
“I benefit so much from it even though I’m not the direct recipient of anything. I’m just there to help, but I get so much out of it by volunteering,” she said.
Hopkins also volunteers as a child-care provider for teachers and coaches at her school and at His House Ministries in Mayfield.
Graves County English teacher Guier Millikan said, “Kelsey is a truly exceptional young lady. She is intelligent, mature and hard-working, and if these attributes weren’t enough, she is also one of the kindest students I have ever had. ... If I were to design a model student, it would definitely be Kelsey Hopkins.”
Hopkins already has quite an impressive academic resumé to match her community service work.
Now Hopkins can add Teen of the Week to her long list of accomplishments.
Kelsey Hopkins, daughter of Craig and Monica Hopkins, 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. Check out the taped interview with Hopkins at www.paducahsun.com.
Hopkins has a 4.167 weighted grade-point average, second out of 293 students in her class.
Hopkins’ hard work in the classroom also caught the attention of her teachers.
Jodie Blalock, principal of the GCHS Math, Science, Engineering and Agriculture Academy, said: “Kelsey is an excellent student. She understands the importance of a work ethic and of applying herself to achieve success. In the math classroom, she has outstanding critical thinking and problem solving capabilities.”
Hopkins has yet to earn a grade lower than an A in her high school career, including classes such as Advanced Placement calculus, AP chemistry and AP physics.
Hopkins said her exposure to those classes sparked her interest in pursuing a degree in chemical engineering after high school.
She hopes to attend the University of Kentucky in the fall of 2011. She and her family plan to visit the college this week.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.