McCracken County High School senior Maggie Smith finds mathematics to be her favorite subject — she said she likes solving equations, rather than word problems. She especially enjoys algebra, trigonometry and calculus.
“There’s just something about it,” she said. “It always clicks really easily and I’ve always enjoyed not just knowing how to solve a problem, but like what are the reasons and laws behind it.”
Smith, 18, expects to attend Murray State University in the fall, having been accepted into its Honors College. She hasn’t chosen a specific occupation yet and plans to keep that open.
However, she’s “very sure” it will be the field of STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“That’s my favorite subject and I really enjoy it, but I plan to learn more as I take classes at Murray State, and learn more about each occupation to figure out which one I want to go into,” she said.
“I have considered being a physician or a pharmacist or maybe like a math teacher, something like that. But so far, I have not really chosen a precise one.”
Smith, daughter of Kerry and Ronna Smith of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors who are chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee names 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, Smith has earned a weighted cumulative GPA above 4.36. She’s a member of the school’s varsity tennis team, while serving as National Honor Society co-president and Beta Club vice president. She’s been involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a student-led prayer group, and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, as well.
“I really love playing tennis,” Smith said.
Smith is looking forward to her senior season with the Mustangs. She hopes to challenge herself this year against her competitors and do well enough in the region to make it to state.
“I started late, but I really got into it in middle school and continued on in high school. The coaches are just amazing,” she said. “They have coached like state-winning teams and I’m just so lucky to be on the team and have the opportunity for them to be my coaches.”
She particularly likes learning new tennis techniques and playing with other team members. They go out and play practice matches, when they are not having real practice or matches, Smith said.
“I think my favorite part is whenever you learn a new skill and you work at it and you work at it,” she said.
“You practice it with a private coach and then you practice it in clinics and with the other teammates and you go out into the match and you are able to successfully execute it. It just feels so satisfying that all that hard work paid off. You got to see the fruits of it.”
She said she wants to play intramural tennis in college, and expressed an interest in participating in recreational leagues through the United States Tennis Association.
In the meantime, she’s staying busy with her senior year. It has “definitely gone well,” in Smith’s eyes, although she said it hasn’t really sunk in yet that she’s a high school senior.
“My teacher told me that once they start registering everyone else for high school and you’re like, ‘Oh, you’re not registering this year,’ — that’s when it kind of kicks in, but I am excited for college,” she said.
Smith added she’s also excited about graduation, trying new things and being on her own, but she’s going to miss her friends from high school, who are going to different places, both close to home and far away.
“I think it’s just mixed emotions of being excited for the next part of my life, but sad that the old one is ending,” she said.
By: Kelly Farrell