Graves teen plans to use natural talents to pursue political science degree
FARMINGTON — Rachel Smith was born to lead.
The 17-year-old Graves County High School senior has served as public relations officer for the Mayfield/Graves County Youth Leadership Program since August. She was also captain of the school’s varsity soccer team her senior season and was captain of her freshman and junior varsity basketball teams in 2007 and 2008.
She was named all-region in track in May and all-district in soccer in October 2009. Smith also served as co-editor-in-chief of her school’s newspaper and works as the sports editor this year. She has been volunteering with the TOPS Soccer program for disabled athletes for five years. To hear Smith explain why she got involved with the TOPS Soccer, watch the video interview at paducahsun.com.
Smith’s teachers have noticed her ambition over the years.
Jill Herndon, Smith’s newspaper adviser and English teacher, said, “Rachel is one of the most outstanding student-athletes I have ever had the privilege of teaching. She is talented, intelligent and very personable with the drive and determination to succeed at everything she tries.”
Soccer coach Abbie Morris said, “(Smith) is a remarkable young lady who is a role model for her peers. She is hardworking, dedicated to everything she does and always willing to help. Her accomplishments on the athletic field, in the classroom and within her community are good measures of her character.”
In June 2009, Smith was chosen as one of two students from her school for the four-day Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Program at Transylvania University in Lexington.
She also participated in the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program at Centre College in Danville for five weeks over the summer. She studied communication and social studies. Smith said the GSP experience taught her a lot about interacting with people she’s never met and gave her a glimpse at college life, except condensed.
“You’re basically trying to make life-long friends in five weeks,” she said.
Smith is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. She is ranked fourth in her class of 293 students. Smith boasts an ACT composite score of 33 and a flawless attendance record.
Rachel Smith, daughter of Greg and Pam Smith, 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.
Smith hopes to attend Transylvania University in the fall. She will major in political science and minor in communication. Smith said she may use her degree to pursue a career public relations or marketing.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.