Tilghman Scholar-Athlete Has Big Ambitions
"I don't really know what happened, but all of the sudden I realized that I do enjoy softball," Humphrey said. "And if I'm going to continue to do it - which I want to - I might as well just be great at it."
The ambition that helped Humphrey become the stellar athlete she is today is the same ambition that fuels everything she does, and she does a lot.
Humphrey's ability to excel in the toughest classes offered at Tilghman despite a rigorous, year-round schedule with the school's varsity girl's softball and basketball teams has secured her spot as sixth in a senior class of 161 with a GPA of 4.073.
In addition to her class work, softball and basketball, she juggles a position as sports and editorial page editor of The Tilghman Bell, concert choir, National Honor Society, mock trial team and the Southland Baptist Temple youth group. The list of awards and honors she's received over the years, especially for athletics, is almost too long to list.
She's been named MVP for Tilghman's varsity softball team three times, and MVP for the varsity basketball team once. She's been selected for the All-District and All-Region teams for both softball and basketball. Last year she was the All-Purchase Player of the Year runner-up, and she's been named Paducah Sun's Player of the Week multiple times for both sports.
"Awards that come along with playing, they're fun and all, but that's never been the reason I've played sports," Humphrey said. "I just really love it, I enjoy it. And if I'm going to do something, I'm going to put a lot of time and effort into it and make sure I give it my best."
Humphrey, daughter of David and Danette Humphrey, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week. Each Monday, The Sun features a different teen selected from nominees submitted by guidance counselors across western Kentucky and southern Illinois. Next spring, a Teen of the Year will be chosen from the weekly winners. The Teen of the Year will receive a $2,500 scholarship.
Humphrey is resourceful and industrious. In the past when she's needed extra money, instead of going to her parents or working for someone else, she's resold things on eBay - sometimes things like old softball bats of her own, other times items she bought for cheap and then resold for profit.
When she started to wish Tilghman's girls basketball team still ran the summer basketball camp she attended as a child, she took it upon herself to get it started back up.
"Growing up, I would always go to all of the girls basketball games at Tilghman with my best friend that plays with me now," Humphrey said.
"We'd always go to those games, and then once a year in the summer they would have a camp. Those girls were my role models. Some of those players, I just thought they were superstars. I really enjoyed getting to meet them and learn from them. After that group of girls graduated, the camp ended. I thought, I can do that, I can make that happen again."
Humphrey's teammates volunteered to help her bring the Tilghman team's youth basketball camp back to life. The summer before her junior year, she and her teammates taught ball-handling skills and proper technique to about 30 elementary and middle school girls over the course of two days. Last summer they had about the same number of girls, with several repeat students. Humphrey says she hopes to help out with the camp once more this summer and get Tilghman's rising senior girls ready to handle the camp once she's gone.
As for where Humphrey will go to college, she's not certain. She does know she'd like to study business in her undergraduate years and possibly pursue dentistry or orthodontics after she earns her four-year degree. Whatever she ends up doing, she wants to own her own business and knows that a business background will serve her well. She also knows that she wants to keep playing softball in college, and the University of Kentucky might be the place for her.
"I could get a full ride somewhere small, but I just don't think I'd be that happy playing in a smaller place," Humphrey said. "I've been going to softball camps (at UK) ever since I was in the seventh grade. When I started playing in middle school the girls team wasn't good at all, but I've watched them progress over the years, and I just fell in love with the team and the coach. The future is wide open, but that's kind of where I'm headed."
Teen of the Week nominations are accepted only from guidance counselors. For questions, contact Kendra Mitchell at 270-575-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Genevieve Postlethwait, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or at email@example.com.