JOHN WRIGHT | The Sun
Sam Cox and his mother, Heidi, look at a plaque together after he was named Teen of the Year during a ceremony in the Murray Room of the CFSB Center on the campus of Murray State University on Tuesday.
Sam Cox is an excellent student, but even he didn’t know he was that good.
Cox, a senior at Paducah Tilghman High School, was named Teen of the Year at an awards banquet Tuesday night at Murray State University’s CFSB Center. Cox beat out 31 fellow Teen of the Week winners featured in the Sun over the course of the school year.
“I’m really excited,” Cox said. “I didn’t think there was any way I would get it. Everyone had high grade-point averages and high (ACT) scores.”
Cox is a member of his school’s football, baseball, academic and mock trial teams, as well as Prime Rib, a select men’s a capella group. He writes for the school newspaper, represents his class as student council president and won all-state honors in choir this, his rookie year.
Cox works part time at Outback Steakhouse and volunteers at the American Red Cross and his church, St. Paul Lutheran Church, where he is a member of the youth group. He is a Class of Kentucky designee, Advanced Placement scholar and National Merit finalist.
Cox holds a 3.95 grade-point average, including nine AP classes. He earned an ACT composite score of 31 and a perfect 36 in English.
Cox, son of David and Heidi Cox, is the Murray State University Teen of the Year, earning a $5,000 scholarship to Murray State.
Cox has decided to study English at the University of Kentucky in the fall.
Catherine Sivills, spokeswoman for Murray State, said all 32 candidates were amazing students, but Cox’s all-around versatility set him apart.
“I think the whole combination of his obvious talents and abilities to take part in different things like the choir and academics and working part time ... those just stood out,” Sivills said. “Being a teenager is hard enough and being able to balance all of that is just impressive.”
Four other students were selected as Teen of the Year finalists: Jack Jones of Fulton Independent High School, Luke Guhy of Mayfield High School, Summer Davis of Marshall County High School and Sarah Hendley of St. Mary High School.
The Teen of the Week program received 129 applicants this year from 19 schools across western Kentucky and southern Illinois. Teen of the Week is part of the Sun’s Newspapers in Education program.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.