KEVIL — Top of her class and girls’ basketball team captain, Abby Shelley is an anomaly among high school athletes.
A Ballard Memorial High School senior, she has played varsity basketball for six years. She has more than a dozen basketball honors and awards, including Third District all-tournament team in 2008, 2008 and 2010; Third District Player of the Year in 2008 and 2010; All “A” Regional all-tournament team in 2008, 2009 and 2010; Paducah Sun All-Purchase team in 2008, 2009 and 2010; and Region 1 all-tournament team in 2008 and 2010. She has about 1,400 points under her belt, surpassing 1,000 in December 2009.
Shelley, 17, is a four-year member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where she serves as team leader. She is also a youth representative for Bandana United Methodist Church.
She also likes to give back to her community through Student Ambassadors, a Ballard Memorial community service group.
“We started doing the food pantry with the Student Ambassadors group, and I really enjoy doing that,” Shelley said, “because I feel like it really reaches out to our community, not just anybody, but it’s our specific community here in Ballard, and I feel like I get to help the local people and I enjoy that.”
Shelley also struts her stuff academically. She boasts a 4.0 grade-point average and is poised to become valedictorian of her class in May.
For her hard work in athletics, academics and community service, Shelley, daughter of Chris and Deanna Shelley, 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.
Also a rarity among high schoolers is Shelley’s intended college field of study: finance. Though unsure of whether she wants to attend a large public university or a small private college, she is sure she wants to stay in Kentucky. To find out why, watch the video interview at paducahsun.com.
Shelley is also unsure what career path she wants to take after earning her degree, but she knows she wants to return to Ballard County.
“I would like to end up back here. I like the country. I don’t think I would handle city life very well,” Shelley confessed.
Ballard Memorial guidance counselor Lorry Beth Wilson believes Shelley’s drive will propel her through the future.
“She is a leader without even realizing it, in many ways,” Wilson said. “Abby’s accomplishments will help her be a productive, successful college student and future leader.”
Principal Donald Shively agrees.
“As a basketball player and student leader, Abby is no stranger to pressure,” Shively said.
“By analyzing Abby’s characteristics and abilities, there is no doubt in my mind that Abby will be a very successful student in whatever college and career that she chooses.”
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.