Every Monday and Tuesday, The Sun profiles area high school seniors chosen from a pool of nominees for Teen of the Week consideration. Near the end of the school year, a selection committee chooses one of these students as Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Garcia ranks in the top 10 of his class at Paducah Tilghman with a cumulative weighted GPA above 4.25. He earned a 33 composite ACT score and is an AP Scholar with Distinction.
At Paducah Tilghman, Garcia is chess team captain and participates in Interact Club, National Honor Society, Coding Club and varsity academic team. Garcia is a former member of the wrestling team too and had served as captain.
Out of everything though, it's chess that Garcia considers his main extracurricular activity. He participates in chess tournaments and tutors elementary students on the game.
About a year or year-and-a-half ago, Garcia said he was browsing online and came across a chess video and started playing. He later joined the school chess team in junior year.
"I knew the rules of chess," he said. "I knew how all the pieces moved and the rules for castling and all that, but I never actually played, played it - competitively. Playing chess casually and playing it competitively are like completely different fields. Once it gets competitive, you have to remember a lot of stuff."
It's not just about remembering, though. Chess players need to plan their moves ahead of time and find patterns in how the pieces move, among other aspects of the game.
"You have to think strategically and plan ahead," he added. "It's not just useful for board games and stuff. It's kind of useful for life."