If you follow high school football, you may know Sam Cox as the quarterback for Paducah Tilghman High School’s state champion football team. But you don’t know the real Sam Cox.
The 17-year-old Paducah Tilghman senior isn’t hurting for talents. Cox is a member of the school’s football, baseball, academic and mock trial teams and Prime Rib, a select men’s a cappella group. He also writes for the school newspaper, represents his class as student council president and somehow found time to earn all-state honors in choir this year, his rookie year.
Cox also manages to hold down a part-time job at Outback Steakhouse, volunteer at the American Red Cross local chapter and rack up tons of academic awards, including Class of Kentucky designee, Advanced Placement (AP) scholar, National Merit semifinalist and Brown Book Award, to name a few.
“Sometimes it gets hard, balancing everything, but I think it’s worth it,” Cox said.
And then there’s his envy-inspiring ACT composite score of 31, a flawless 36 in English. Cox’s unweighted grade-point average of 3.95 — including five AP classes under his belt and four more under way — has positioned him in fourth place academically in a class of 146 students.
His academics have certainly earned the respect of his teachers.
Susan Hancock, a Paducah Tilghman English teacher, said, “He is an inquisitive student, willing to listen and learn, as well as to research and uncover material for himself. He is also the type of student who knows how to study, how to pay attention and take notes, and how to be successful in an academic situation.”
For his accomplishments, Cox is Teen of the Week.
Sam Cox, son of David and Heidi Cox, 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.
Cox plans to use his high school achievements in a big way. He hopes to study English or journalism at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., in the fall of 2011.
Cox credits supportive parents and positive examples passed down from his older siblings — he’s the youngest of five children — for his work ethic and ambition. To hear Cox explain his motivation in his own words, watch the video interview at paducahsun.com.
According to his teachers, Cox does some motivating of his own for others.
Paducah Tilghman social studies teacher Ashley Adkins said, “I don’t know of any student at our school who does not know Sam, or more importantly, does not respect Sam. He is a friend to all. Sam is the type of individual who inspires those around him to do a little more, a little better.”
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.