McCracken County High School senior Bailey Watts has been around sports for much of her life, having started playing softball at a young age, and she sees a future career for herself as a sports psychologist.
“I originally thought about being like a sportscaster and I wanted to work my way up to ESPN, but I realized that would probably require me to travel a lot and with my own family, I wouldn’t want to do that,” Watts said.
“And, so then, I started being interested in psychology and like how the brain works, and why people do what they do. It’s very interesting to me. I began to look at jobs that deal with that and I read about sports psychology and thought it would be perfect — like the combination between sports and learning about people.”
The 17-year-old student added that she enjoys helping people. After high school, she plans to attend Murray State University and study psychology for a bachelor’s degree. She also intends to minor in kinesiology.
“My mom and dad both went there and most of my grandparents went there,” Watts said, on Murray State. “My aunts and uncles went there, so it really is just like a family school, and it’s not too far from home, so I’ll be close.”
Watts, daughter of Wendy and Eric Watts of Kevil, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every Tuesday, The Sun publishes articles on area high school seniors who were chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee will name 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.
At McCracken County, Watts has earned a 4.22 weighted cumulative GPA.
She’s involved with Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and participated in the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce’s Youth LEAD program and Paducah Bank Teen Ambassador program. In particular, Watts has served as a “Taking Down Tobacco” advocate through FCCLA, such as educating peers and others about the dangers of tobacco and e-cigarettes.
“I think it’s important because I think that e-cigarettes now, and vaping and alcohol and stuff, is a really big deal for high school students .... I think a lot of people are getting involved because they think it’s like the cool thing to do, and, in reality, they don’t know the long-term effects of all of it, and how it can really just impact their future and their health for when they get older,” she said.
Watts, an outfielder, played varsity softball for the McCracken County Lady Mustangs through junior year, and is still playing for the Kentucky Crossfire travel softball team. The sport has taken her to different states for competitions.
“I started playing whenever I was around four years old, and it’s always just given me something to do, and I really enjoy it because (of) the friends you make,” she said. “My best friends now are friends that I’ve made from softball and one of them doesn’t even go to McCracken and she’s still one of my very best friends.”
With high school graduation coming up soon, Watts shared that a personal goal for her is to stay on track to be a valedictorian. She’s excited for her future, and taking that next step, but also nervous about moving.
“I’m also happy because I know that I’m going to have good things to do and I know I’m going to have fun and make new friends and all that too,” she said.
By: Kelly Farrell