Anastasia Shaverina and her family made a big change about four years ago through the diversity immigrant visa program. They emigrated from Saint Petersburg, Russia — the country’s second largest city — to Marshall County.
“The second I got off the plane at JFK, I thought, ‘Is this really happening to me?,’ ‘Am I in New York?,’” Shaverina wrote. “It was true. My parents didn’t really know what to do. They didn’t speak English. I didn’t speak much English. “It sounds crazy. It was crazy. It took us a few hours to figure out where and how to rent a car. After that, we had a 14-hour drive to Marshall County, Kentucky — without any sort of GPS navigation.” It was December 2015 and Shaverina was in eighth grade.
Years later, in February 2020, Shaverina is a 17-year-old senior at Marshall County High School with her sights set on attending college in Kentucky. She hasn’t definitively decided yet on a major or career path, but she’s looking at the University of Kentucky or Western Kentucky University. “Hopefully, UK, but might be Western,” she said. “I’m thinking about doing engineering and then after four years, if I feel like, I might go to law school because in Russia, I wanted to be a lawyer.”
Shaverina is interested in civil or mining specialties, describing the engineering profession as about “finding solutions.” However, she’s also thinking about studying international business. “I like math and I like science, so I think it’s really neat,” she said. “If I do international business, I really am interested in diplomacy and relationships between two countries, so that’s why, and I want to find a job that will allow me to travel between Russia and America.”
Shaverina, daughter of Anna Shaverina and Anatoliy Shaverin of Marshall County, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun profiles area high school students selected from a pool of nominees for Teen of the Week consideration. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee will choose one of these students for Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive the Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
At Marshall County High School, Shaverina has earned an unweighted GPA above 3.8 and a weighted GPA of 4.20. She’s involved with Kentucky Junior Historical Society, Y-Club and yearbook class. She works a restaurant job and enjoys reading, crocheting and traveling in her free time. Shaverina said history is one of her favorite subjects. It’s interesting how we can all like history and be part of it,” she said. “It’s just interesting to know the story of how something was created.”
One of the Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, is her favorite person from American history, who was an orphaned immigrant. She’s a fan of the popular Broadway musical, “Hamilton,” and saw it in New York City last August. She referenced the “American Dream,” where someone can achieve great things if they work hard, no matter where they come from. It may not be at the federal level, said Shaverina, but you can change your community and people around you. “I think if an immigrant like Alexander Hamilton can be part of something like the Constitution, we all can be part of something, no matter if we are born here or not, if we work hard,” she said.
By: Kelly Farrell