McCracken County High School senior Avery Bailey aims to travel and study health in different places throughout the world one day.
“I just kind of realized that was a really interesting thing, to study health practices across the globe, getting immersed into medicine for everywhere — seeing the differences between medicine in America and Africa and Europe and all these other countries (and) continents,” she said. “I just really want to learn all about that, study it and I’d love to be a part of stuff — like health — that affects the world.”
The 17-year-old senior plans to double major in international relations and biology in college, before going on to pursue a career in global health science. Bailey’s dream school is Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, but she’s also looking at the University of Kentucky.
“I like the aspect of there’s always more to discover,” she said, on health.
“You never reach the extent of what you can learn and I like having that reach of almost the impossible. There’s always a little more that you can give and a little more you can find out. The knowledge is infinite and ... that’s so interesting to me to know that there’s never really enough that you can learn about it.”
Bailey, daughter of Jenny and Dan Bailey of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every 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 the Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Bailey has earned a 4.33 weighted cumulative GPA — placing her among the top of the class at McCracken County — and also received a 33 composite score. She’s an AP Scholar and attended the Kentucky Governor’s Scholar Program.
In other school activities, Bailey is part of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Future Business Leaders of America. She’s also a Drama Club member and participates in other organizations too, but her biggest commitment is McCracken County’s decorated co-ed cheerleading team. A four-year member, Bailey was part of two national championships and two state championships.
When she first joined, the co-ed cheerleading team surpassed all of her expectations. She said everyone on the team is like family to her, noting the many hours spent practicing.
“It’s crazy to think about all the dynamics that go into this 2 and 1/2 minute routine that we do,” she said. “There’s (many people) on the mat and if everybody doesn’t move exactly like they’re supposed to every single second, then someone’s going to fall, they’re going to get hurt.
“It’s just like the bond you form with all these people is incredible and the rush you get every time you go out on the mat to compete with them is amazing.”
Bailey is hoping for the best for this year’s co-ed cheerleading season, in light of COVID-19, but she’s keeping everything in perspective. She hopes to walk across the stage at graduation next year, but the “most important thing now” is to spend time with friends and teachers and to enjoy her last year in Paducah.
“This school is doing absolutely everything they can to give us a senior year,” she said. “We’re very lucky that we got to experience a portion of the football season where the seniors were allowed to go to the student section and get to dress up and just cheer on the football team, even though — six feet apart and wearing masks.
“It’s almost like every single thing we get to do, we’re just grateful.”