Leah McGough has long dreamed of becoming a pediatric nurse.
"I've always known that I wanted to go into the medical field and I want to help kids through the hardest seasons of their lives," McGough said. "I just love to see the connections nurses form with their patients, and that just makes me feel like pediatric nursing is where I'm called to go and serve."
With a passion for helping children, the Community Christian Academy senior has immersed herself in a variety of activities that will give her plenty of experience caring for them, including being a volunteer tutor, working in her church nursery, babysitting, and going on a mission trip to eastern Kentucky to lead children in Vacation Bible School activities.
Along with a younger sister, McGough said she feels her experiences caring for children so far have partially prepared her to make a career of it.
"I think I'm better able to understand how to listen to kids more and how to help them," she said.
McGough, the daughter of Jeff and Joy Beth McGough, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week. Every week in the online edition and Tuesday in the print edition, The Sun features a teen selected from nominees submitted by guidance counselors throughout the region.
Near the end of the school year, one of the students profiled will be named Teen of the Year and will receive a $5,000 scholarship.
An additional student will be chosen for an Inspiration Award and receive a $1,000 scholarship.
McGough is an honor student with a 4.0 grade-point average. She is a member of National Honor Society, Rotary Club and GIFTS club. She has been a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes for six years and serves as vice president this year. She also has been a key member of the CCA Student Council, serving as vice president.
She has been playing volleyball since sixth grade and has been on Community Christian Academy's varsity volleyball team for five years, earning a spot on the All-District volleyball team and KHSSA Academic All-State First Team for three years.
McGough also has artistic talent and placed third in the Yeiser Art Show.
Although she works in various mediums, McGough said the particular piece that placed was a lyric drawing called "In the Eye of the Storm."
"It was a picture of a boat in the eye of a storm I drew using the lyrics of a song," McGough said. "That song was really important to me at that time in my life and just reminded me that God was always there during the storm and He can always be there to help you. It's one of the pieces I'm most proud of."
After graduating in May, McGough plans to attend either Murray State or the University of Kentucky to study nursing. She said she hopes to one day fulfill her top career dream: work at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.