Teen of the Week: Alisabeth Culp

Teen Gains Perspective Through Involvement
by Emily Smith/Paducah Sun

Photo of Alisabeth Culp
McCracken County High School senior Alisabeth Culp fills a variety of roles as a high school student. A leader with a bit of spunk, she takes no role lightly.

As an honor student, leader, singer/songwriter, traveler and involved community member, Culp has learned the value of hard work and gained maturity beyond her years.

As a member of the McCracken County High School Marching Band, a group that has been recognized as one of the top 5A competition bands in the state, Culp said she has learned responsibility and time management skills.

"To say I am in band would be an understatement," she said. "I live in band."

With every band season encompassing 200 hours in group practice, 25 additional hours in individual practice, 72 hours in actual competition and 20-30 hours providing pep band and halftime entertainment during home football games, she said she has learned one valuable lesson through it all.

"You have to learn to wake up on time," she said.

As a section leader in marching band, Culp said it's her job to encourage all members of the band to be fully engaged and disciplined to maintain group success.

"Participation in marching band requires rigorous and dedicated practice," she said.

Culp is an alto saxophone player and is regularly chosen by her instructor to be a featured performer in jazz improvisation during public and private performances. Jazz, she said, is one of her many passions.

Culp, the daughter of Crystal Culp of Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week. Each Monday 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.

Aside from being heavily involved in marching band at her school, Culp has also performed at the McCracken County High School Talent Show and is a member of the French Honors Society.

Outside of school, you can nearly always find Culp at Open Mic Night at Etcetera Coffeehouse in downtown Paducah, hosted by the Paducah Writer's Group. High school students from McCracken County and many other area high schools regularly attend, making it a community-building event.

She said she often performs vocally or instrumentally, sometimes both, and makes it a point to engage the audience by taking requests.

"The relationships that I take time to build with students from other schools creates a sense that we are members of one community," Culp said.

Culp is also regularly invited to perform at the Kentucky Opry in Draffenville during the annual series "Stars of Tomorrow." She said she is grateful for the opportunity and enjoys mentoring younger performers as they prepare for their part of the show.

Having already been accepted to Morehead State University, Culp intends to study commercial music with a minor in theater. Her career goal is to one day own her own business in the music industry and work in local community theater.

Culp said anyone who knows her knows she is a film buff.

"I mainly want to go into theater and the movie-making business whenever I get out of college," she said. "I'd love to move to somewhere in Canada or Los Angeles to try to pursue that dream because I've always loved movies."

Culp said her love for film and her love for music make up her passion for art.

"For me, I'm largely pop culture as far as music and movies go," Culp said. "Ask me anything and I will more than likely have at least heard of it. Film is something I have actually been influenced by and it's a lot of what makes me, me."

Culp has traveled many times in her lifetime, beginning around age 5. She has been to China, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Turkey and plans to travel to Amsterdam for her senior trip.

She said she is thankful for her travel experiences because they have allowed her to see other aspects of the world, not just her own perspective.

"It's crazy to think that I've seen probably more than what most people in this city have seen in their entire lives," Culp said. "It's greatly impacted me."

Culp said she owes all of her travel experiences to her "fabulous mother."

"If it wasn't for my mother, I wouldn't be where I am today," Culp said. "If it wasn't for her pushing me to do as well as I have, and get the good grades that I have, taking me all sorts of places. My mother has made every opportunity possible for both me and my sister."