Claire Whitaker is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week!


Claire Whitaker enjoys working with people, as well as math and science, so a future career in the medical field, perhaps as a radiologist or anesthesiologist, has caught her attention.

“I know that I want to be a doctor, but I’m not sure how I’m going to take all the blood and stuff, so I was looking into those as being my top contenders,” she said. “I really want to work at a hospital and with people and those are great without having to open people up.”

The 18-year-old Murray High School senior enjoyed getting to “learn about humans and how they work and think” in her science classes and noted she had great teachers throughout her time in school, who made it fun to learn.

She’s considering a biology major for college and is looking at Murray State University, Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.

“I’ve always been a really visual, hands-on learner and I really enjoy science and getting to discover, research and figure things out,” she said. “I think that would be a career that I would enjoy and, ultimately, just have fun in. I really want to pursue that.”

Whitaker, daughter of Mark and Denise Whitaker of Murray, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.

Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors who are selected from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Near the end of the school year, a committee chooses 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 Murray High School, Whitaker has earned a 4.37 weighted cumulative GPA and currently ranks first in the senior class, as of Friday. She was also co-captain for the golf team and plays on the tennis team.

Outside of classwork and sports, she has a part-time job at a restaurant, assists with her church’s Sunday school program and serves as class president. Whitaker is involved with many school activities and clubs, including Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America and the Youth Activation Committee, which is associated with Special Olympics.

She’s not planning to play golf at the collegiate level, but she loves how it’s a lifelong sport. The golf team is “super close,” and Whitaker said she will miss golf and the girls on the team “tremendously.”

“I just loved like the individual aspect of it and how everything is on you,” she said.

“If you do bad, it’s on you. If you do good, it’s on you. You just have to like figure out how to respond to those good and bads and that determines how you finish up. It’s always your attitude and that gets you through it.”

As for what’s next, Whitaker said her senior year has “definitely been a little different” with the virtual learning and coping with COVID-19 related changes for in-person learning and events, but she’s excited for the future.

She’s also excited about going to college, and shared she “absolutely loved” Murray High School.

“I couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else, the people, the teachers and staff there are incredible and they’ve made it so enjoyable and fun,” she said. “I feel like I’ve gotten (a great) education there, so I’m very, very sad to leave, but I’m ready to graduate and do all of the things in college.”

By: Kelly Farrell