Community Christian Academy senior Micah Estes has babysat, tutored or worked with children for years and sees a potential future in that for herself.
"I love helping someone understand what they can't grasp at first and I like the 'aha' moment, you know, whenever they figure it out," she said.
The 17-year-old Paducah teen's passion to work with children is evident in her efforts as an elementary school teacher's aide, CCA's after-school program and volunteering in her church's nursery, along with babysitting -- something she started at a young age.
As an elementary aide, Estes has participated in kindergarten, first- and second-grade classes, witnessing different ages and aspects of teaching. She "really, really" loves it. Her favorite class at the moment is kindergarten.
"They're all just so sweet and they're all really well behaved for being their first year of school," Estes said. "I think I could see myself doing kindergarten, honestly."
Estes, daughter of Kevin and Julie Estes of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
On Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors who are nominated by school guidance counselors for Teen of the Week recognition.
Around the end of the school year, a selection committee chooses one of these students for Teen of the Year, who receives a $5,000 scholarship. Another student is the recipient of an Inspiration Award, which carries a $1,000 scholarship.
Estes strongly considers elementary education as a potential major, but she's keeping an eye on speech pathology as another career choice, while she weighs college options, such as the University of Kentucky, Murray State University and Union University in Tennessee.
She's undecided on which college, but her options are open as she's ranked No. 1 in her class of 11 and earned a 31 ACT score and 4.0 GPA. She also took part in the Commonwealth Honors Academy program at Murray State University this past summer, which was an experience that gave her a taste of college life.
"It was amazing," Estes said. "It's three weeks long and we lived in the dorms. We took two college classes while we were there and it really, really opened my eyes to how much you need to study and put a lot of effort into those classes."
She stays involved in different school activities, including varsity volleyball, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society and serving as student council secretary. She's been co-captain of the volleyball team since junior year and took home some school honors last year, including Most Aces, Best Serving Percentage and Setter Award.
Estes credits volleyball for strengthening her leadership skills and she's learned to never count the team out, noting that CCA is a smaller school. It involves losing and winning with dignity.
"Now that I'm a senior, the girls really look up to me and my two other fellow seniors on the volleyball team," she said. "We've really had to be leaders on and off the court and just show the girls the right attitude to have on the court."
Outside of school, church and volleyball, Estes said she enjoys traveling and has been "blessed" to do so, as she loves seeing different cultures and meeting new people. In particular, she fondly remembers a mission trip to El Salvador and a cruise vacation in Europe, where she "fell in love" with Rome and its fascinating architecture.
Utah is her planned fall break destination.
"I really enjoy that and then -- I like being with friends and just making memories and enjoying senior year, being young and trying to live each moment as it comes," she added.