Paducah Tilghman High School senior Dana Hernandez, an aspiring attorney, has been named as the 2022 Paducah Bank Teen of the Year.
“I’m really excited because I have always loved working with Paducah Bank and on their (kindness) murals and their projects and stuff that they do, and so it’s really exciting to be named Teen of the Year,” she told The Sun.
Earlier this month, a six-person committee from The Sun and Paducah Bank, chose Hernandez for the program’s top honor out of all the high school seniors who were recognized as a Paducah Bank Teen of the Week for 2021-2022. More than 60 seniors were nominated this school year, with 10 public and private schools making nominations.
“The Paducah Bank Teen of the Week program is featured in The Paducah Sun and showcases 32 talented high school seniors from our area who have many accomplishments, ambitions and dreams,” The Sun’s publisher Bill Evans said, in a video announcing the program’s winners. The announcement video is available to watch online at paducahsun.com.
“This year, a selection committee has chosen two of these outstanding students to be our 2022 Teen of the Year and Inspiration Award recipients — Dana Hernandez and Alex Shaverin. These students embodied qualities that make up a Teen of the Week — academic achievements, leadership, being involved and having passion.”
As Teen of the Year, Hernandez will receive a $5,000 scholarship. She was recognized as a Teen of the Week back in September.
The 18-year-old student is set to go to the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, this fall. She explained that it’s been her “dream school” since freshman year, and she received a full-tuition scholarship to attend. Hernandez plans to study law, history and culture on a pre-law track at USC, before going on to law school.
She said participating in mock trial at Paducah Tilghman helped her a lot in determining that she wanted to go to law school. Hernandez also shadowed someone at the local public defender’s office for a day. She additionally shared an interest in having her own law firm in the future.
“I’m more set on criminal defense attorney, just because I’ve always been really intrigued in those kind of things and those kinds of cases. So, I’m pretty sure that’s what I want to do,” she said, on a career.
In high school, Hernandez has been involved with different student organizations, such as National Honor Society, student council, Rotary Interact Club, sustainability club and serving as editor-in-chief for the school’s student newspaper, “The Tilghman Bell.” She previously played on the girls’ varsity soccer team. Her other activities include attending the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program.
With graduation taking place later this month, Hernandez reflected on her four years at Paducah Tilghman and singled out the high school’s “support system” as something she will be forever thankful for.
“I am definitely going to miss my family and friends and the school, and everything that I have at Tilghman, but I’m excited to take everything that I learned and carry it on somewhere else,” she said.
Hernandez also expressed gratitude for her parents. She’s the daughter of Alma Lemuz and Isidro Hernandez of Paducah.
“I really want to thank my parents because I feel they have always instilled in me to be strong and a leader, and like a courageous person, and they have never backed me down from anything or withheld me from anything,” she said. “And I think that’s also one of the most important things that I will forever take with me — is that if I put my mind towards something — I know I can do it.”
By KELLY FARRELL
Paducah Bank Teen of the Week Final!