It’s not just the fact that Cari McMullen scored 1,000 points in her basketball career at Community Christian Academy. It’s how she did it.
“(Cari) tackles every game with such passion and stamina that it is sometimes unbelievable when they lose,” said Carolyn Light, school counselor.
“With Cari, it is the leadership she brings to the game.”
That same intensity lets McMullen grab academic and service records that mirror her impressive sports accomplishments.
The tall dark-haired senior made all-district teams for volleyball, and picked up tennis as a sophomore.
She maintains a 3.9 grade-point average and is vice president of CCA’s Athletes in God club.
The volleyball team captain, who had the most blocks and kills on her team last year, also qualified for the Governor’s Scholar program and spent weeks studying at Morehead State University.
When McMullen isn’t keeping detailed statistics for her teams, she is serving as secretary for the National Honor Society and student council.
Which all helps her become Teen of the Week.
McMullen, daughter of Rhet and DeAnn McMullen, 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.
Another indication of McMullen’s intensity is how she chose to get out of her comfort zone in the Governor’s Scholar program.
“I studied business and economic theory as my major,” McMullen said. “And newspaper as my minor, two things I’m not familiar with at all, but it was a good learning experience.”
Her career interest lies in kids. The daughter of two teachers plans to become a kindergarten teacher.
McMullen said she has some practice with young children through the Awana organization at her church, Heartland Worship Center, where she reads Bible verses with 3- and 4-year-olds.
She gobbles up baby-sitting opportunities like rebounds, and has led Relay For Life events and a fall festival, all while balancing course loads from advanced classes.
McMullen plans to attend Asbury College in central Kentucky to study elementary education, and play basketball and volleyball.
“I don’t think I could give (sports) up, though,” she said. “It’s been my life forever.”
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.