Averill balances year-long participation in three sports — basketball, golf and tennis — with a rigorous academic course load and involvement with a variety of community service organizations. He said his favorite activities outside school are playing any sport and volunteering.
"I was born into athletics; I play golf in the fall, basketball in the winter and tennis in the spring," Averill said.
The St. Mary High School senior feels a strong connection to his school community as well as the entire city of Paducah.
"I was born across the street (from St. Mary High School) at Lourdes," he said. "I've lived here my whole life, the least I can do is give back as much as I can."
Averill is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submitted 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.
His love for sports began at home fostered by both of his parents, Kurt and Staci Averill, who are coaches. He said he would select tennis as his favorite sports to be fair because his father is a golf coach and his mother is a basketball coach. Averill has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average throughout high school and has been named to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Academic All-State team.
He lists one his favorite high school memories as winning the golf state championship. The St. Mary team won the First Region team championship and Averill won the Gambit Junior Tournament and West Kentucky Junior Tournament during his freshman year. The team won the regional and state tournament, the Kentucky Cup Championship and the Kentucky Invitational Championship during his sophomore year. The team won another regional title during his junior year and Averill, currently the team captain, won the regional tournament individually this year.
His connection to his school and the city-wide community encouraged him to always give back to others. During his high school years, Averill has volunteered with the Paducah Cooperative Ministry, the Barbecue on the River festival, the Greater Paducah Sustainability Project (GPSP) recycling center, the Community Kitchen of Paducah and many others.
"When I'm not bettering myself as a student or an athlete, I'm bettering the community," he said. "I would rather be doing stuff for others than wasting my time at home."
Averill organized a fundraiser that collected more than $700 and recruited 15 students to participate in the Buddy Walk, an event that benefits people of all ages with Down Syndrome. He obtained approved from the St. Mary school administration to have a non-uniform day that students could purchase with a $1 donation to the cause.
He participated in the Kentucky Governor's Scholar Program during the summer and is currently the president of the Recycling Club and the St. Mary chapter of the National Honor Society. In his free time, Averill volunteers and spends time at his church, St. Thomas More, and plays drums with friends.
Averill who lists his favorite classes as mathematics and science, plans to attend a four-year state university next year to major in biology or pre-med for a future career as an optometrist. He said through his personal optical issues he has become fascinated with the profession.
Although he is sad to leave such a close-knit community between students and teachers found at St. Mary for college next year, Averill is determined to make the most of his senior year.
"It's scary to think about leaving such a nice community at St. Mary, it's going to be hard to leave," he said. "I'll cherish every moment I've had here; it's been a great help to me and my faith."
Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.