April Butler is a rarity — both exceptionally well-rounded and modest.
One thing was clear from the start: Butler was uncomfortable being interviewed. Her cardigan-clad arms folded in front of her body, habitually glancing to her left, she provided a nervous-yet-polite laugh to the end of most of her answers.
Yet something else quickly became obvious: She’s good at just about everything.
She excels at everything she sets her mind to. And it’s no accident. Articulate, intelligent, athletic, focused and endearingly timid, the 17-year old Paducah Tilghman High School senior is excellence personified.
Paducah Tilghman Spanish teacher Andrea English said, “I don’t have words to express how exceptional this young lady is. ... She is brilliant. She was able to skip Spanish 2 and go straight on to Spanish 3. I have never met anyone who was able to do that.”
Ranked first in her class of 146 students, Butler is poised to be valedictorian with an immaculate 4.0 unweighted grade-point average, including four completed Advanced Placement classes and four more in progress. Butler also boasts a jealousy-inspiring 30 ACT composite score.
Butler has plenty of plaques and ribbons to show for her hard work; she’s a member of the National Honors Society and received the Harvard Book Award, Duke Book Award and was named a Rotary scholar.
But perhaps the most unique distinction Butler holds is something lost on most teenage girls — she’s a veteran Girl Scout.
Butler has been a Girl Scout for nine years. She got started because she wanted to spend more time with her friends, also Scouts.
“I’ve always loved being in Girl Scouts. I love helping with the community, and it’s good to have people who you can depend on. The bonds you form in Girl Scouts really do last a long time,” she said.
Butler is also a member of the mock trial team, academic team and concert choir and has served as captain of the varsity golf team for five years.
All these honors have earned Butler another distinction: Teen of the Week.
April Butler, daughter of Tom and Julie Brazell, 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 is 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.
Butler intends to continue golfing at a collegiate level, while pursuing a chemistry degree before entering pharmacy school. To see Butler explain in her own words why golfing is her greatest passion, watch the interview at paducahsun.com.
She currently is courting Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, University of Evansville in Indiana and Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn.
Butler’s teachers have no doubt that she has what it takes to succeed after her days at Tilghman.
Paducah Tilghman English teacher Susan Hancock taught Butler in pre-AP literature and composition and AP literature and composition.
“There was never any need to motivate April; she drives herself much harder than any teacher could,” Hancock said. “She possesses all that is needed to be a successful student: intelligence, motivation, organization and creativity.
“Because of her academic abilities and her determination to excel, April is a natural leader in the classroom and out of it.”
Contact Danielle Ray, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.