Pinpointing a passion early on is not a given for many high school students.
Students often find themselves hopping from one activity to the next, never fully investing in one particular extracurricular.
But there are always a select few who know exactly where their passion lies and chase after it.
McCracken County High School senior Chaney Troutman is one of those students.
"I have been dancing since I was 4 years old," Troutman said. "I've always loved dance and gymnastics. But for some reason, dance has always been first for me."
Troutman, the daughter of Adrianna and Michael Troutman 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 receive a $5,000 scholarship. An additional student will be chosen for an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
When Troutman began to dance competitively at the age of 9, a seed was planted and watered by her dance instructor at the Academy of Movement and Performing Arts (AMPA), Tressa Wilham Harrison.
"I would probably say she is the most inspiring person that's really made me love dance," Troutman said. "She's basically been a legal guardian because I've been at the dance studio so much. She's one of the biggest reasons why I love it so much."
Last year, Troutman was employed by AMPA to choreograph solos for dancers and to teach/assist classes. She and some of her other dance friends were asked to choreograph the numbers for the Mr. MCHS pageant, a fundraiser at McCracken.
"I've been doing a lot of choreography, and I'm really liking that because I wanted to take my love for dance a step further," she said. "I especially love working with the younger dancers because they look up to the older dancers so much and want to be like them. I really like working with them and teaching them."
Although she has not yet decided where she would like to attend college, Troutman said a goal she is considering for herself is to try out for a university dance team.
"Dancing has definitely taught me leadership skills, to always take risks and to stay busy," she said. "I spend 12 to 15 hours in the studio each week, and it's really helped me with time management and drawn me out of my comfort zone."
An introvert by nature, Troutman said she has not always pictured herself teaching in front of a class like she does at AMPA.
"I would have never thought I could do that," she said. "Dancing has definitely helped me with confidence, I would say."
She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average during all four years of high school and is ranked 10th in her class. She was the national title winner of the Hall of Fame Dance Competition at Virginia Beach, Virginia, competing against 60 individuals. She was also titled as Universal Dance Association All American Dancer in 2016 and 2017.
Her freshman year, Troutman participated in the first-ever competitive dance team at McCracken County High School and went on to compete with the team her sophomore year at the Universal Dance Association in Orlando, Florida. The team won sixth in the nation out of 77 teams, first in KDCO state competition in small jazz and first in regional competition.
The skills Troutman said she will need after high school -- for college and the workforce -- have been provided to her through the experience of dancing.
"If you can have the confidence to teach a class, then you can have the confidence to sit through an interview, talk to people and have eye contact," she said. "It all kind of connects together."