Handley said even though volleyball season is over, her numerous clubs and volunteer activities will keep her busy throughout the remainder of her senior year. The 17-year-old is ranked first in her class, and she carries a 4.0 grade point average. When she talks about her academic accolades, she laughs and sometimes blushes. Though she's proud of her success, Handley is not one to brag.
She decided early on that she wasn't going to be satisfied with good grades. Her resume reflects dedication to a number of school and extra-curricular clubs and activities.
Kaitlyn Handley, daughter of Mark and Joan Handley, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees that high school 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 and will receive a full four-year scholarship to Mid-Continent University, currently valued at up to $55,000 or a cash award of $2,500 paid through the Paducah Sun if the student selects another college to attend.
Some of Handley's fondest memories have come from volunteer work with those in the beginning and end of life.
She works as a bus monitor, helping very young children stay safe and quiet on the bus so the drivers can focus on the road. Currently she is an aid for a kindergarten class. She thoroughly enjoys enlightening others with her life lessons, but isn't afraid of learning some as well.
"Patience," Handley said. "I'm not naturally a patient person, I guess. Being around them, I have to be."
She's also gained perspective from those older than her. She's done mission work in South Africa and Alabama. When in Alabama, she volunteered in nursing homes and with the developmentally disabled.
Handley scored a composite 26 on her ACT, and she's only missed four days of school in her high school career. Ken Jewell, manager of Carlisle County after school program, says Kaitlyn brings optimism to all of her endeavors.
Handley's goal in life is to help people. She said as long as she can continue improving the lives of others, she will be satisfied.
She hopes to meet that goal by studying biology at Union University, in Jackson, Tenn., or Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. Handley plans to finish her degree in chiropractics.