Teen of the Week: Torii Doran


Graves Senior Plans to Serve in Military
By Emily Smith/Paducah Sun

Photo of Torii Doran
Whether it's within her school, neighborhood or the world around her, Torii Doran assumes the responsibility of taking on a bigger role and trying to make a difference.

The Graves County High School senior is ranked No. 1 in her class of 300, maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, is involved with numerous extracurriculars, and has a long list of volunteer experience.
But her service won't stop there.

After Doran graduates from high school, she plans to attend a military service academy, where she will study engineering and commission to become an officer.

"This profession requires working in challenging conditions with teams of great people to solve problems without the expectation of personal gain," Doran said.

"A soldier is not just a person in a uniform. A true soldier has a specific set of character traits, and I embody these traits every day in my decision making, problem solving, and especially in setting an example for my peers."

Doran, the daughter of Terri and Mark Doran, 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.

Doran said her desire to serve in the military emerged when she joined the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps as a freshman in high school.

"I was a really quiet and reserved kid," Doran said. "My parents tried to get me involved with cheerleading, gymnastics, ballet, but I never liked any of those. One day, my dad came to me with a business card for a taekwondo place. I tried it out and it was something I really enjoyed, so I kept with it."

Doran is now a black belt in taekwondo and a blue belt in Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She has spent 11 years in martial arts training and has won numerous first-, second- and third-place medals in her division.

But she soon found another calling.

"My father was in the military for 21 years, but he never pushed it on me," she said. "But just being around it my entire life taught me that I'm part of a larger community. Whether it's Mayfield or the world. I just want to serve others."

With dreams of one day becoming an officer, Doran has taken on several leadership positions to gain the experience necessary to prepare herself. She has 40 hours logged volunteering as a leader/intern with community children at a summer Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics camp, 40 hours assisting a military reserve unit in providing free medical and dental care to local families, and 30 hours volunteering at a local food pantry.

"This year, I suggested my JROTC unit get involved as a service learning project," Doran said. "I feel like we have so much extra to give, so why not help each other?"

For Doran, being a leader doesn't always mean being the loudest person in the room.

"I think you have to first gain people's trust and respect," she said. "A lot of people think you have to be the big, loud scary person. But I think you just have to be a trustworthy person that people want to come to. I've learned that when people stop coming to me with problems, then I'm doing something wrong, because they should be willing to come to me."

Doran is serving as the first female Battalion Commander for JROTC this year, putting her in charge of 150 cadets in the program, planning, training and supervising important events. She also serves as the captain/commander of the air rifle team.

Among her many honors and awards earned during high school, Doran said she is most thankful for the opportunity to be selected by the U.S. Air Force Academy out of 6,000 applicants to attend its summer program.
"That kind of secured my desire to join the military and go to an academy," she said.

She also was awarded the Superior Junior Cadet Medal, the second highest award that can be achieved in the JROTC program.

But aside from all of her accomplishments and honors, Doran keeps what is most important to her at the forefront of her mind: being an inspiration to others.

"My parents have been a big inspiration to me," Doran said. "They always taught me to be kind to others. There's no greater way to make a difference in a person's life than to inspire them. I want to leave behind a legacy of inspiring others."