Micah Smith has his eyes on the prize, but for him, that doesn't necessarily equal personal gain.
True success to the Mayfield High School senior looks more like contributing to his community, and watching it reach its full potential.
Although he is eager for success and has personal goals, like plans to pursue dentistry through a career in orthodontics, Smith said making his community a better place has always been one of his top priorities.
"Growing up in Mayfield, our community has always been behind us," Smith said. "Whether it's athletics or academics, it's been awesome to have those adults you know you can count on whenever, for whatever. One day hopefully, that's what I can be for a kid like me."
Smith even has plans to combine his personal and community goals one day by bringing a family-friendly, successful business to his community.
"At a young age, I found a passion for dentistry when I looked forward to seeing the dentist while my friends dreaded it," he said. "My overall goal in life is to help others. I can do that in this field by giving others the confidence and self-esteem to simply smile."
Smith, the son of Jen and Micah Smith, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each week in the online edition and Tuesday in the print edition, The Sun features a teen selected from nominees submitted by guidance counselors throughout the region. Near the end of the school year, one of the students profiled will be named Teen of the Year and will receive a $5,000 scholarship.
An additional student will be chosen for an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Smith, who plays varsity football, basketball and tennis at Mayfield High School, said athletics are another big aspect of his life and have taught him many valuable lessons.
"Between sports and involvement, it's really given me the opportunity to not just have friends in one particular group," Smith said. "My involvement has given me an opportunity to form a relationship with kids who aren't like me and have different stories."
He said he strives to be someone who is there for anyone in their time of need.
Smith is a member of the student council, Future Business Leaders of America, Beta Club and pep club. He is a governor's scholar, vice president of his class, president of sportsman club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes senior representative/officer.
He has participated in a number of community service projects, including the Future Business Leaders of America Walk-a-Thon, Operation Christmas Child, Mayfield Elementary School fall festival, Mayfield Elementary School football camp, Battle of the Birds canned food drive, HOBY community service day and the Mayor's City Hall Beautification project.
Mayfield High School's football team was the KHSAA Class 1A champion during Smith's freshman year, and have been state runner up the past two years.
Smith has received a number of individual honors, including being named in the Courier-Journal's All-State High School Football Team-Third Team-Defense his sophomore year, an award of excellence from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, and was named Player of the Game on several different occasions his senior year.
While he has worked his whole life to balance maintaining good grades with athletics and a social life, Smith said he feels a sense of accomplishment every time it pays off. In the same way, his professional ambition is to feel that sense of accomplishment while doing something that he loves.
"Orthodontics is a hard career to pursue, but once you get past the many years of school and the stress of opening up your own practice, it's all worth it," he said. "I plan to spread positivity with my patients by making sure they feel loved and appreciated no matter what. Overall, my main professional ambition and lifelong goal is to help others."
Smith has signed to play football at Southeast Missouri State University, where he will take a pre-dentistry track. After college, he plans to attend dental school.
Article from The Paducah Sun