For most students, class time, Governor’s Scholar Program work and advanced-placement tests are the difficult tasks.
For Shelby Brown, senior at Community Christian Academy, they feel more like a break.
That’s because Brown’s family planted a 200-tree peach tree orchard so she’d have a job near home in Cunningham.
The 17-year-old is responsible for the orchard, named Hillcrest Orchard, year-round and in every way.
“It’s pretty much a full-time job,” Brown said.
It’s not such a time-consuming gig in March and April, Brown said, when she prunes trees about an hour per week.
In July, though, she often works 12-hour days harvesting, advertising, hiring employees and making deliveries.
“It makes me appreciate it (school) a little bit, because I know that I could be home sweating and itching and in the peaches for 12 hours a day,” Brown said. “It’s helped me study harder and try to do better.”
Whatever the motivation, it’s working, as Brown ranks at the top in her class academically as of Friday with a 4.0 grade-point average.
And she now has another honor recognizing her work in and out of the classroom.
Brown, daughter of Craig and Lee Ann Brown, 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.
The work that defines so much of Brown’s ethic and time (she has also been an office aid for four years at P.C. Distributing in Paducah), makes her school involvement and achievements more impressive.
Brown is president of both the Girls In Fellowship To Serve (GIFTS) and National Honor Society this year. The latter position shows many of her leadership qualities, according to Lisa Wingfield, CCA English teacher.
“Since I serve as the sponsor of the Honor Society, I have been able to observe her in that position,” Wingfield said. “She handles it in a very organized manner while maintaining a pleasant disposition.
“I continually see her handling difficult situations in an adult manner.”
Brown participated in the Governor’s Scholars Program at Centre College in Danville this summer studying Spanish language and culture.
Also this summer, Brown visited Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., to participate in Lifeway’s Student Leadership Apprentice program, a two-week leadership camp.
Her high school career includes experiences and responsibilities that not every valedictorian hopeful handles:
n Four-year member of Young Politicians Club.
n Student council treasurer last year and this fall.
n Captain of the varsity cheerleading squad.
n First chair French horn in CCA’s concert band since 2004.
Brown said she plans to take pre-medical courses and international business and Spanish classes in college.
Some of the schools she’s considering are University of Kentucky, Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Harvard and New York University.
Regardless of where she’ll attend classes next fall, the chances she’ll be aching to get back out among the peach trees can’t be good.
Or can they?
“By the end of July, I’m tired of them (peaches). I’m ready to never see a peach again in my life,” Brown said. “But then by around December, I’m ready for it again. I’m ready to have the peaches back.”
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.