Sam Kirchhoff loves problem-solving and looks forward to seeing different patients with different issues every day as a physician.
“I’ve always just really liked to help others and I think that there’s a lot of different ways to help others, but that’s just always been the thing that piques my interest for science,” he said. “I’ve always been real science-y.”
The 17-year-old Paducah Tilghman High School senior plans to study medicine in the future, but he hasn’t nailed down what type just yet. He’s particularly interested in dermatology, radiology and anesthesiology.
“Those are my faves,” Kirchhoff said. “There’s so many more that I’m interested in, but it’s just like everyday, it’s something different. That’s the problem is, I can see myself like doing anything in that field, so it’s just so hard to pick one thing.”
Kirchhoff, son of Amy and Reese Kirchhoff of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun will publish profile stories on area high school seniors that chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Near the end of the school year, a selection committee names one of these students as Teen of the Year. It carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Kirchhoff’s academic accomplishments rank him alone at the top of his class at Paducah Tilghman, having earned a 4.46 cumulative weighted GPA and 4.0 unweighted GPA. He’s also an AP Scholar with Distinction, received a 33 composite ACT score and attended the Governor’s Scholar Program this summer.
At Paducah Tilghman, he’s stayed busy with varsity tennis, Rotary Interact Club, Mock Trial, Future Business Leaders of America, Beta Club, National Honor Society and many other activities, such as serving as a student ambassador for the school. He’s been second seed in tennis for Paducah Tilghman.
“I’m very competitive, but I think my favorite part of tennis is probably the fact that it’s a lifelong sport,” he said. “You can’t do football your whole life .... I go out to the tennis courts and I see kids that are 3 and then I see like seniors that are like 85 — they’re all playing tennis. It’s a lifelong sport.”
He also works part-time at his family’s business, Kirchhoff’s Bakery & Deli, in downtown Paducah and helped developed a youth tennis outreach program with assistance from coaches.
In particular, Kirchhoff singled out two other experiences outside school as “so enriching” for him — serving as a mayoral intern for Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless and shadowing Family Court Judge Deanna Henschel.
He said he doesn’t plan to go into law or to work in city government, but he was curious about how it all worked.
“Being a mayor’s intern, It was just really helpful to know how everything worked and how behind the scene stuff happens,” Kirchhoff said.
“I really got a feel for all that the mayor does and all the hats that he or she has to wear. I feel like that was just so informative. The sheer amount of information I learned was just amazing.”
The 2020-2021 school year is still new, and it looks different thanks to COVID-19, but Kirchhoff plans to make the most of his senior year. He’s focusing on school and applying to colleges, but he also wants to enjoy it.
“(I’m) trying to make the most memories possible with my friends and stuff, being able to attend all the school events that are able to continue to happen,” he said. “Just trying to adapt in the best way possible.”
BY: Kelly Farrell