McCracken County High School senior Xander Norment’s “dream job” is to become a cardiovascular surgeon one day and help patients with heart issues.
“According to some studies, there’s going to be a critical shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons by 2025 and there’s just not going to be that many people, while the ... 65 and older population is going to be increasing,” he said. “So then, there’s going to be more heart problems, but less heart doctors.
“I want to help with that, so that the quality of living can be improved.”
It’s a career aspiration that Norment, 17, has had for some time.
“I learned about the heart in middle school during my science classes, but one event that really got me where I wanted to, for sure, become a cardiothoracic surgeon, is when I found out my grandpa, who I call ‘Papaw,’ actually had a heart attack one night,” he said. “He had to have emergency open-heart surgery. In the end, he had to have a quadruple bypass surgery because his heart just couldn’t pump the blood he needed to the rest of his body.”
In high school, Norment later learned about the heart and its different chambers in class, such as sheep heart dissections in sophomore year.
“To me, it just makes sense how it flows from each chamber to the lungs and then, to the rest of the body, because the brain confuses me with all of its different neurons that kind of go everywhere,” he said. “But the heart, it just has one direct pathway and the valves that blood flows through.”
Norment, son of Tabitha Norment and Trenton Rodgers-Norment of West Paducah, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Every Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors who are chosen from a group of nominees for Teen of the Week recognition. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee names 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.
Norment has earned a cumulative weighted GPA above 4.3 and received a composite 35 ACT score. He’s an AP Scholar with Honors and has been part of several different organizations at McCracken County, including the National Honor Society and serves as Beta Club president and vice president of HOSA, or Future Health Professionals.
Math is also a focus for Norment, who said he wants to earn a mathematics degree in college. He took home first place finishes in upper level and lower level exams for the Math Day competition at Murray State University, during his junior and sophomore years.
He said he’s “mostly been looking” at attending Murray State, but is also looking at the University of Kentucky, Vanderbilt University and Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.
“If I do go to Murray, I would look into to see if I could do a double major, to see if I could do biochemistry and mathematics at the same time, because I always just like taking challenges,” he said.
As for what’s next, Norment is looking forward to college and keeping an eye on his senior year and classes, while “having fun along the way.”
By: Kelly Farrell