Taylor Cook never takes a break.
The 18-year-old Paducah Tilghman High School senior and girls’ soccer team captain plays the sport year round: school team during regular season and an indoor team during winter. But for Cook, all the hard work is worth it. Her favorite part?
“The teamwork, definitely,” Cook said about her soccer involvement. “Accomplishing a goal together.”
Her world studies and Advanced Placement literature teacher, Susan Hancock, said that’s par for the course with Cook.
“To manage to play soccer and keep the rigorous academic schedule shows her versatility and responsibility,” Hancock said. “She is truly well rounded, dedicated to the task at hand and a team player.”
Cook is also editor of the school newspaper, The Tilghman Bell. Because of her interests in mathematics and money, she began as a business writer for the Bell last year. This year, she decided to step it up a notch and apply for editor.
“I just felt like I could do it. I like the pressure and the responsibility,” Cook said.
Cook is also president of the Beta Club, a first-year member of academic team and a member of the National Honor Society. Learn about Cook’s other activities by watching the video interview at paducahsun.com.
Through the National Honor Society, Cook has rung bells for the local Salvation Army the past two Christmas seasons as part of the agency’s Red Kettle campaign. She also helps with a canned food drive at her school each Thanksgiving.
“I just like helping the community, anything you can do in your spare time,” she said.
Cook has been volunteering at a Mascoutah, Ill., nursing home since 2006. She became involved with the nursing home through the Red Hat Society, to which her grandmother, Bobbye Broughton of Mascoutah, belongs.
But Cook has many more facets than just extracurricular activities and community service. She has had perfect attendance through high school and has missed only one day of school since kindergarten.
She holds a 3.64 grade-point average and ranks 11th in her class of 151 students, despite eight AP classes and a college preparation class. Cook said her favorite classes are calculus and AP biology.
Cook’s AP biology teacher, Christine Wynne, said, “She is a strong student who strives to truly understand the material being presented as opposed to simply memorizing it. ... She has pursued a challenging academic path while here at Tilghman, taking all honors and AP level classes.”
With such a strong grip on sports, community service and academics, it’s no surprise that Cook is Teen of the Week.
Cook, daughter of Charles and Robin Cook, 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.
Cook boasts a 30 ACT composite score. She hopes her grades, coupled with her excellent ACT score, will catapult her into the University of Louisville’s chemistry program in the fall.
“I just like chemistry,” Cook said. “I took chemistry, and then AP chemistry this past year, and really like it and really enjoyed it, so I had to do something involving that. I just can’t put that aside.”
After earning an undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue another degree in pharmacy. Although she’s still weighing her options, Cook is interested in working either in a local pharmacy or researching new medicines after graduation.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.