MAYFIELD, Ky. — Some high school students serve in the community to be more well rounded. Some students serve a cause they’ve taken up or to complement their academic records.
Then there is Reyno Tapia Jr., a senior at Mayfield High School. The 17-year-old has 671 recorded service hours since he was in middle school.
“I actually started my intense community service while I was in eighth grade,” Tapia said. “I honestly did it because I was bored.”
Tapia started with the 4-H Club, doing everything from counseling kids at camps to building sets for fashion show fundraisers.
Along the way he’s thrown in three hours here — raising money for an animal shelter by helping take kids’ pictures with a bunny at Easter.
And three hours there — using Spanish he’s learned from his parents, who moved to the U.S. from Mexico, to translate for Hispanic shoppers at a yard sale fundraiser for a local church.
Add his drive to serve with his 4.0 grade-point average, and class rank of No. 1 out of 89 seniors, and you’ve got a Teen of the Week.
Tapia, son of Reyno and Carolina Tapia, 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.
Tapia’s long service list includes four years’ experience in the Future Business Leaders of America, Foreign Language and Science clubs.
He’s also enjoyed the Key Club and Journalism Club, and represents Graves County on a national level in the 4-H Club.
“It all comes from inside him,” said Mary Seay, Tapia’s chemistry teacher. “He has a drive that a lot of kids don’t have at that age. And he’s very intelligent while he still has a wonderful sense of humor.”
Tapia said he’s most interested in biology and chemistry, mostly inspired by Seay’s teaching.
He plans to attend the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville next fall.
Seay said she is most impressed with Tapia’s drive, and how with his attitude he can get the best out of any opportunity.
“Everyone who knows him says the same thing,” Seay said. “He has a chance to be successful at whatever he does.”
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.