MAYFIELD — It seems Michelle Cantrell can do it all.
From marching band field commander to soccer team captain, cheerleading squad captain to science club member and speech team captain to actress, the 17-year-old Mayfield High School senior wears many hats: scholar, athlete, singer, thespian and all-around model student.
Cantrell landed her first big role playing Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” in 2004 at the Purchase Players Community Performing Arts Center in Mayfield.
“From then on I was pretty much in every teen play and any of the Christmas plays,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell honed her musical theater talents this summer at Governor’s School for the Arts , a three-week program at Transylvania University. Cantrell was also accepted to the prestigious Governor’s Scholars Program, but scheduling conflicts between the two programs forced her to miss it.
After graduation, Cantrell wants to study music at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn. She hopes to someday open her own studio to teach music and vocals. Cantrell said she has been singing her entire life. She got her start in the choir at her church. Cantrell is set to sing a duet with a friend during the 54th annual Telethon of Stars in November.
But Melinda Craig, an MHS English teacher, points out that Cantrell can also hit the high notes in the classroom. Cantrell boasts a perfect 4.0 grade point average, plus extra credit earned in Advanced Placement English and U.S. history. She ranks first in her class of 89 Cardinal seniors.
“Eloquent and articulate, Michelle excels at academics; however, she also enjoys cheerleading, soccer and softball,” Craig said. “We tend to think of a well-rounded ‘Renaissance Man,’ but Michelle would certainly qualify as a ‘Renaissance Woman’ because of her many — and varied — talents.”
And for that, she is Teen of the Week.
Cantrell, daughter of Mike and Teresa Cantrell, 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.
Kathy O’Nan, MHS social studies chairwoman, said Cantrell also participates in mission trips through her church and still finds time to hold down a part-time job at a local photography studio.
“There is seldom an event in Mayfield — whether it be in school, the community or in her church — that Michelle hasn’t volunteered her time and headed up numerous activities,” O’Nan said. “I couldn’t find a weakness in this girl with a magnifying glass.”
With credentials like these, it’s no surprise that Cantrell’s classmates recently voted her Miss MHS, Mostly Likely to Succeed and Class Favorite.
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.