The 17-year-old senior said he likes to get to the bottom of things, so the aspect of reaching diagnoses, finding underlying issues and solving problems appeals to him. He’s taken classes at McCracken County with teacher Melissa Willoughby through the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science Program.
“I’ve taken her classes all four years and, through those classes, I’ve definitely developed my passion for medicine and it’s because of those classes and her teaching that I have decided on biomedical engineering and what I want to do with my life after high school,” he said.
He described the classes as not using as much recall, but rather it has more application-based thinking, where you have to think deeper and more analytically about problems. He plans to major in biomedical engineering for undergraduate study and is leaning toward attending the University of Kentucky.
Wooten, son of Michelle and Mike Wooten of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Around the end of the school year, a 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.
Wooten is among the top of his class at McCracken County. He’s earned a 4.393 cumulative weighted GPA and received AP Scholar with Distinction recognition. He scored a composite 36 ACT score twice as a sophomore and junior, which is the highest score possible on the standardized test used for college admissions.
In school, Wooton serves as captain for the school’s varsity academic team and vice president in student government. He’s involved in National Honor Society, Beta Club and the school’s theatre department. Outside school, Wooten has part-time jobs and he’s part of his church youth group.
One of Wooten’s experiences stands out above the rest for him.
He attended the Governor’s Scholars Program at Centre College and studied environmental and biological issues. It was shortened due to COVID-19, but Wooten described it as one of the greatest weeks of his life, noting its “really supportive” environment.
“I had very low expectations for it and I wasn’t exactly excited to go — that’s not exactly my thing,” he said. “But clearly I went through with it, and then I was blown away with just how interesting it was to meet all those people and grow relationships with people from all across Kentucky and I ended up wishing that it had been longer.”
As for senior year, Wooten said it’s different than what he expected it to be with the COVID-19 related changes, but he’s grateful for the efforts that teachers, administrators, parents and friends are putting in to make it as normal and fun as possible for seniors. He’s looking forward to college.
“I’d say that I’ve had a great year so far,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the future with it and hoping that things might become even more normal than they are already are, but I’m definitely enjoying all the lasts of senior year with my close friends.”
By: Kelly Farrell