St. Mary High School senior Jaclyn Meredith loves soccer, but she tore an ACL during her junior year, and it was a long recovery before she was able to take the field again for the Lady Vikings.
Nonetheless, the 17-year-old came back and won the team’s MVP award.
“I like it because it challenges me and there’s certain goals each game,” she said. “Each person has a different role and we all have to work together to win and be a good team.
“I think it was just cool because I’d been playing it since I was about 8 years old maybe and ... it pushes you to do your best and it pushes you to get better and stronger and be a better player.”
Meredith’s ACL injury cut her junior season short and she was given a 9- to 12-month recovery process that required physical therapy. It also involved getting her strength back before she could play sports or pivot her feet.
“That was really difficult, but it ended up making me more determined to accomplish things and I’m really thankful that I got better in time to play for my senior season,” she said.
The first soccer game after the injury was “awesome,” as Meredith was excited and happy to be back playing for her school.
“It felt great to go back out on the field and play with my teammates because we had a rough season last year and it was hard just watching it and not being able to help, but this year I loved taking charge and helping them and them helping me,” she added.
Meredith, daughter of Mike and Lori Meredith of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun profiles area high school seniors who are chosen from a pool of nominees for Teen of the Week consideration. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee chooses one student for Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive the Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Meredith earns top grades at St. Mary with a 4.05 weighted GPA and plans to attend the University of Kentucky in the fall. She serves as senior class vice president and her other activities included National Honor Society, Catholic Youth Leaders, Student Senate, Spanish Club and Recycling Club, along with varsity girls soccer. In soccer, Meredith was voted team captain and made the All-District team and Second All-Region team in 2019.
She wants to study neuroscience at UK for undergraduate work, attend graduate school and go into the field of speech pathology. She shadowed a Baptist Health speech pathologist last summer, which proved to be a “really cool and eye-opening” experience.
“Whenever my grandmother was diagnosed with ALS, one of her first symptoms she had was losing her voice and her ability to swallow easily and, so, by witnessing her going to speech therapy — well, she called them voice lessons — but they helped her maintain those abilities and I loved seeing the way that they helped her improve and live every day,” Meredith said.
“I love helping people myself and so I think it’s cool that I would get to see people improve and help their everyday life.”
Meredith is looking forward to starting a new chapter with college, but she’s had a “great” senior year at St. Mary and loves being with her fellow classmates. It’s changed recently though, as with all other schools, traditional in-school classes at St. Mary stopped due to coronavirus concerns.
“It’s more of a family at St. Mary than anything,” Meredith said. “We’re more of a family and I hope that I get to graduate with my family at the end of the year and finish off because we’ve worked very hard this year — all of us have — and my teachers have been very supportive throughout everything, like with figuring out college work.
“I’m going to miss all of them and I hope that we get to finish senior year together.”
By: Kelly Farrell