Aiden Caywood is passionate about recycling and sustainability to benefit future generations, as evident in his efforts at Paducah Tilghman High School.
The 17-year-old senior is president of Paducah Tilghman’s sustainability club, which did a biweekly recycling program there for part of last school year and also some river cleanup activities with the Jackson Purchase Foundation.
“Recycling and, just like, interacting with the world in sustainable ways, has always been a big part of my family and just a big part of my personal life,” he said.
“I just was looking for ways that I could maybe bring that into my community and share that with other people, so I kind of had to start a club and I worked through that. I found a teacher sponsor and kind of designed a plan, which I pitched and I got approved by the administration.”
Caywood said he thinks the way we “treat the world” is going to determine the outcome of future generations and that it’s one of the biggest problems facing his generation.
“I think doing anything you can to reduce the amount of waste and trash that’s going into landfills or the ocean, (is) definitely benefiting millions and millions of people in the future and everybody that’s currently alive,” he said.
It’s been one of Caywood’s passions in high school and he hopes to take that into his career and beyond. He’s interested in biology and chemistry, and plans to study chemical engineering at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville.
“My grandfather was an engineer and I’ve gotten a lot of mentorship from him, so I’ve had a lot of conversations with him and, also, my work through the sustainability club has gotten me a lot more interested in emerging technology and science and engineering,” he said.
Caywood, son of Whitney Cassidy-Caywood and John Caywood of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Around the end of the school year, a committee names 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.
At Paducah Tilghman, Caywood has earned a weighted cumulative GPA above 4.0 and received a 33 composite ACT score. He’s an AP scholar and took part in the Governor’s School for the Arts program for creative writing this past summer. He was additionally accepted into the Governor’s Scholars Program and Murray State University’s Commonwealth Honors Academy.
He stays busy with a part-time job at a local supermarket, and has been involved in many activities in high school, including the Prime Rib a cappella group, National Honors Society, concert band and choir, as well as two years in the marching band. He’s section leader for tenor sax in band.
With COVID-19, it’s definitely a unique time to be a senior in high school, but Caywood is making the best of it.
“I am doing online school, so I don’t go into school this year, but I’ve been using this year to work on myself a lot,” he said.
“I’ve been doing a lot of reading, a lot of studying different sources that I normally wouldn’t maybe have the time to look at and just a lot of self-development to get myself ready for college. I’m feeling very optimistic about the future.”
By: Kelly Farrell