Hancock Named 2016 Paducah Bank Teen of the Year
"Her curiosity is tireless. Her passion is contagious. She's destined to achieve great things and inspire others to do the same. Her tenacity, determination and unflinchingly optimistic outlook helped us select her as our 2016 Teen of the Year. We are very happy and proud to name as the Paducah Bank Teen of the Year, Meg Hancock."
In a break from the norm, an additional $500 scholarship was presented Monday night to the "Inspirational Award" winner, Ja'Nae Clapp of Graves County High School.
"We had one teen this year whose story was so inspiring, we created an award just for her," said Amanda Breedlove, coordinator of the Teen of the Week and Newspapers in Education programs. "After suffering a serious brain injury that would have set most people back and kept them there, she persevered. She turned her hardship into a positive experience and came out on the other end a stronger person, an inspiration. She said her goal in life is to be an encouragement to people. She already is."
This school year, The Sun received over 100 Teen of the Week nominations from 14 high schools across the Purchase Area. The 33 students recognized at Monday night's reception represented the best of an exceptional group of young people.
Hancock was still in shock well after she accepted her award and check on stage.
"I'm really honored. I'm so excited," she said. "I've seen these other students' stories, and they are so accomplished. They make me want to be better. Just being here was a big deal, so I'm kind of reeling a little bit. I love that our community is interested and wants our young people to be involved. I'm really excited and honored just to be a part of it."
The speech and debate team captain, mock trail captain, Kentucky Junior Historical Society president, orchestra president, academic team co-captain, National Honor Society president, and Paducah Human Rights Commission intern said she's racked up these titles because of one driving force: curiosity. She always wants to learn more.
Though she has no interest in becoming a politician, she's fascinated by the political process and hopes to help change it for the better. She said she's fully aware how idealistic and optimistic that sounds, given the state of American politics today, but she's determined to hold onto that hope.
The $2,500 Paducah Bank Teen of the Year scholarship (plus Hancock's infectious fervor) will help her further her education in public policy and political science at Duke University this fall.