But the Heath High School senior knows that without a strong work ethic, none of those gifts will amount to much.
“I feel like I wasn’t born with as much intelligence as I have now … I worked toward it,” he said. “I’ve done that my whole life, in sports and in academics.”
Chad Behbehani, son of Allen and Caroline Behbehani, 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.
Behbehani’s diligence has brought him to the top of his class — even while taking rigorous courses — and earned him numerous accolades, including participation in the Governor’s Scholars Program.
A member of the school’s Varsity Academic Team and co-captain of the Future Problem Solving Team, Behbehani has won championships at the district, region, and state levels. His performance at the state’s Future Problem Solving competition qualified him to attend the international competition last year.
This year he’s researching robotics, mega-cities, and ocean pollution for the competition. Behbehani said he prefers looking into topics, such as genetic testing or water quality, that allow him to be creative and apply scientific concepts.
When it comes to science, Behbehani said biology is his forte. He spent 20 days last summer as an intern at the Murray State University Biology Department, where he studied stem cell utilization in fruit flies.
Behbehani hopes to use his experience in the field to major in biology, ultimately becoming a physician. He said he’s interested in infertility patients.
“It would be pretty awesome helping a couple have a child when they couldn’t before, without me,” he said.
The student’s drive and discipline extend to the realm of athletics, as well. Behbehani said he began golfing when he was four or five, and has been a member of the varsity golf team since seventh-grade. Most summers, he practices the sport for five or six hours a day.
Although he’s also an avid runner, Behbehani said the honor, sportsmanship and camaraderie of golf have always appealed to him. He’s also picked up a few life lessons on the green.
The experience of getting a bad hole, for example, has taught Behbehani how to move forward with life.
“Sometimes you’ve got to forget the past. You’ve got to move on. I find that really important,” he said.
Behbehani said he tries to live by that motto, and one other.
“Learn to forget things, and try your hardest. I really believe in trying your hardest,” he said
Call Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.