Sally Thompson, senior at Paducah Tilghman High School, likes to be in the middle of everything.
“I’ve never been the one to sit back,” Thompson said. “I like to get involved and be right in the middle of things going on.”
So she doesn't just serve as the varsity captain for the school’s soccer team her senior year. Thompson supports her fellow athletes in the stands when the football team traveled to Bowling Green to play for a state title.
With her class work she studies hard and ranks in the top 10 percent of her class with a 3.8 grade-point average.
And when she joins the school’s recycling club, she doesn’t just help implement responsible trash collecting in the halls. Thompson brings it home, making her family sort out plastics and paper in a city with no recycling program of its own.
“We’ve implemented a lot of that stuff at home now,” Thompson said. “We have a tub for each different thing.”
Thompson, daughter of Mark and Gretchen Thompson, 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.
Thompson’s coaches and teachers notice her level of involvement and achievement.
“(Sally’s) dedication to the long term success of the Lady Tornado soccer team is evident in the fact that she has been a volunteer assistant coach for the middle school program for the past three years,” said Christine Wynne, the school’s science department chair.
The extra contribution, on top of being a junior varsity captain as a sophomore, helps make Thompson “a very well-rounded person in addition to being a strong student,” Wynne said.
Thompson puts her artistic eye and writing skills to use as the editor of the school newspaper, “The Tilghman Bell.” She’s had artistic pieces featured in the Yeiser Art Gallery’s “Teen Spirit” exhibit, and won a district first placed award in language arts at Governor’s Cup last year.
She also serves as president of the Paducah city teen board, a community action group with Paducah Parks Services that sponsors community service projects and events.
Toss in a slew of clubs and part-time jobs, and Thompson’s physics teacher, Alan Tucker, said it’s impressive she keeps her grades so high.
“She deserves recognition,” Tucker said. “I can say that she has been one of the best and hardest workers I have.”
Thompson said she plans to attend the University of Kentucky in the fall, and possibly study marketing.
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.