Instead, the Lone Oak High School senior recalls how the experience influenced her career path.
As captain of her school's varsity soccer team — and one of only two students to have led the team as a junior — Latham takes the job of motivating others seriously. After her going through therapy herself, Latham sees the career as an ideal match for her academic and personal interests.
"I'm a motivator naturally, and as a physical therapist, I feel like the majority of your job is to motivate people, no matter how difficult it is. I want to see people be happy," she said.
Ashley Latham, daughter of David and Laurie Latham of Paducah is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees who guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submit to the Sun. Mid-Continent University will provide each Teen of the Week with a $2,500 annual scholarship to its university, which is renewable for four years. In the spring, a Teen of the Year will be chosen from the weekly winners. The Teen of the Year is eligible for a full four-year scholarship to Mid-Continent University or a cash award of $2,500, paid through the Paducah Sun, if the student selects another college to attend.
Although Latham's athleticism has helped her and her team earn numerous awards, including All Region Varsity Team, Latham believes humility is a crucial part of being a leader.
"Just because you ... are in a leadership role, it doesn't make you the boss of everyone. It just means you're there to help guide people or lead them in the right direction and encourage them to always do their best," she said.
Latham describes her team as a family and her soccer coach as a second father.
"There's never a bad time we've had together, even through hard losses or struggles throughout the team. ... My teammates are always there to build me up," she said.
Latham's parents, whom she describes as genuine and trustworthy, have also proven a source of support.
"They will push you to do your best and sometimes you're going to hate it, but in the long run, they know what's best for you," she said.
She admires her parents' involvement in community service and says it encourages her to give back in her own way.
Latham has worked as a full-time babysitter for two young children for the past two summers, and supervises 20 children through the daycare at True North Yoga.
But Latham finds an even greater reward in completing service projects through such organizations as Beta Club, the Girl Scouts of America, and the Starfish Orphan Ministry.
"Most of our projects have to do with kids, and I really like to be around little children. We provide services to people like foster care children. To put yourself in their shoes, you're in foster care and Christmas is going to be kind of hard. It makes me feel good, because I know the child is feeling good," she said.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.