Gatton Academy senior Rachel Cooper has been named the YMCA of Greater Louisville’s 2016 Black Achievers Youth Achiever of the Year.
“Being the Youth Achiever of the Year for the YMCA Black Achievers Program is a huge honor for me,” said Cooper, who came to The Gatton Academy from the Louisville Collegiate School. “I have been in the program since I was in the fourth grade. I have gone to countless events within the program and have learned so much from the mentors and speakers within the Black Achievers program.”
The Black Achievers program is a multiracial effort to help all teens of color develop to their fullest potential. The program helps youth view themselves in a positive way, raises academic standards, builds character, shows students various career options, and provides role models whose success and knowledge will inspire and motivate.
The program offers career clusters so that students can learn more about fields that interest them and connect with professionals in these fields. Cooper has been a part of the Engineering Career Cluster. She has had the opportunity to learn about different types of engineering and meet professionals in different engineering fields, including a civil engineer who spoke with her cluster and had students make bridges out of newspaper and paper clips.
Cooper was honored at the 37th annual Black Achievers Celebration on Feb. 20. She earned this prestigious honor by going above and beyond the standard requirements to graduate from high school.
“Rachel is an outstanding student,” said Director of The Gatton Academy Dr. Lynette Breedlove. “She has taken advantage of every opportunity The Gatton Academy offers. At the same time, she has been a leader in our community. We are very proud that Rachel’s hard work and commitment have been recognized through this award.”
“It was truly amazing for me to have the opportunity to speak in front of the hundreds of guests at the Black Achievers 37th Annual Banquet,” Cooper said. “I am overjoyed with the positive responses I have received from students who heard my speech. I am so thankful that I have been able to be a role model for other young students in the program. ”
Cooper will graduate from The Gatton Academy this May.
For information about The Gatton Academy, visit www.wku.edu/academy or call (270) 745-6565.
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Contact: Zack Ryle, (270) 745-2971