Ballard Memorial High School senior Wendy Burnley didn’t have to look far from home to find career inspiration, having grown up in and around a strong tradition of agriculture. Her family operates Burnley Farms in Kevil and she works at Bandana Ag.
“I’ve just learned how much farming does for the world, and how agriculture is a big part of everyone’s life — not just the people that work in it and live on farms,” she said.
“Agriculture has become my passion. … I really like it and I like that my dad does it, and my granddad does it. I would be the fifth generation Burnley farmer in Kevil.”
After graduation, the 18-year-old student plans to attend Murray State University in the fall and major in agribusiness. Burnley said that she isn’t sure yet on what she wants to do in the agriculture industry, but she does plan to return to the Ballard County area or the western Kentucky region.
“I know I want to be in the industry, whether it’s like farm lending or if it’s actually working in an agricultural supply store, or just whatever that looks like for me,” Burnley said. “I’m not sure what it looks like yet, but I know I want to be in this region and I know I want to be in the industry.”
Burnley, daughter of Walt and Valarie Burnley, of Kevil, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every Tuesday, The Sun publishes articles on area high school seniors who were chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee will name one of these students as Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive the Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
At Ballard Memorial, Burnley has earned a 4.0 cumulative unweighted GPA. She also attended the Commonwealth Honors Academy this past summer at Murray State.
She takes part in several clubs and activities, such as Future Farmers of America, Pep Club, Future Business Leaders of America, student council, and serving as yearbook editor. She’s active in Kentucky 4-H and in her church and youth group, as well.
In particular, Burnley credits the 4-H and FFA organizations on helping her with leadership, confidence and speaking skills. She’s also involved with State 4-H Teen Council and the Purchase Area 4-H Council.
“The state teen council is all about leadership and promoting the 4-H program in Kentucky. We’ve done etiquette lessons. I’ve given speeches. We run meetings,” she explained. “I’ve led Summit groups, which is a camp they have.”
Meanwhile, regarding her senior year, Burnley shared that it’s “going fantastic” and she feels like she’s getting the most out of her experience at Ballard Memorial. Her goals before graduation include keeping a 4.0 GPA and becoming a valedictorian.
“I’m excited,” she said, on graduation. “I know that I have done everything I could at BMHS, and I can’t wait to see what I accomplish at Murray State.”
By: Kelly Farrell