"I do believe I could be a 4.0 student if I devoted all my time to studying," Bacon said. "But it's not worth it to me to have a perfect grade-point average and not have anything else."
"There are so many things that mean so much more to me than a number on a piece of paper."
If the Mayfield High School senior had stuck her nose in the book every hour of every day, Bacon wouldn't be cheering on the varsity cheerleading team, mentoring kindergartners, participating in the Spanish Club or the speech team.
Hillary Bacon, daughter of Bryan and Leila Bacon, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees who 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 reward of $2,500 paid through the Paducah Sun if the student selects another college to attend.
Bacon's teachers describe her as highly motivated. The basis of that motivation is her future family.
"I have to complete my college education," she said. "Because I don't think there's a better gift that I could ever give my future husband, my kids, than having an education."
She believes many of the nation's problems would be non-existent if more people had the access and drive to get the highest education possible. That doesn't mean a perfect resume, she said. It's about taking the experiences you have, listening to the people you respect and bettering yourself.
Bacon's mother and her grandfather are two of her biggest role models. Her grandfather moved from Bagdad when he was just 17 to get an education. If he could overcome language, religion and cultural struggles to finish his education, Bacon knows she has the power to graduate Murray State University with honors.
Call Rebecca Feldhaus, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651.