Madison Caylor is known by many of her peers and teachers as insightful, inquisitive, trustworthy and committed.
With a specific career path in mind and passion in her heart, Caylor's hard work, academic excellence and desire to push herself are just a few of the reasons why she is on track to be named valedictorian of her class in May.
But there are some things you wouldn't know about the McCracken County High School senior just by looking at her transcript, like the events that led up to her career choice.
"My twin brother and I were born almost 11 weeks early," Caylor said. "We spent three weeks in the NICU at Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville. The neonatologists that cared for us made such a huge impact in our lives, and I hope to have that impact on so many families later down the road."
Neonatologists are pediatricians who specialize in premature and sick babies. And with plans go to medical school, Caylor's career goal is to have a positive impact on families like her own by becoming a neonatologist herself.
"Just hearing the way my mom talked about how important our neonatologist was in Louisville and knowing that I could potentially help other parents who are in the same situation with a sick baby, that's what really made me decide that's what I wanted to do," Caylor said.
Caylor, the daughter of Sherrie and Tommy Caylor, 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 receive a $5,000 scholarship.
Caylor has been a member of the McCracken County All Girl Cheer team for three years, where she said she strives to act as a role model for younger girls by encouraging them.
"I've tried to really focus on not using the fact that I'm older in a negative way, but as a way to incorporate younger girls into what we're doing," Caylor said. "Because it's scary being on such a big team, so I want to do everything I can not to belittle or talk down to the younger girls, but to build them up."
She has served as junior secretary for her school's Future Farmers of America chapter in the past, is Head of Outreach for her school's prayer group, and is a member of student government.
Having recently gone on a mission trip to El Salvador with her school, Caylor said she was humbled to see how much is taken for granted in the U.S. "Having the opportunity to go and experience that with my classmates was amazing," she said. "We built two houses for two different families who were literally living on the ground. It was such a great thing to experience, especially before graduating and becoming an adult. You can't take anything you have for granted because a lot of people don't have the things we have here."
Caylor said she has always known that she wanted to be valedictorian and has taken her education very seriously. With a 4.5 weighted grade-point average and having taken nine advanced placement classes, she is right on track.
"It's just always been a goal I've had," Caylor said. "Being able to challenge myself in the classroom is fun for me. A lot of people don't think that it is, but it makes going to school a little more fun."
After graduating high school, Caylor plans to attend Murray State University to major in biology and minor in chemistry. Once she graduates, she want to continue her education at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine.