Anastasia Shaverina came to Marshall County from St. Petersburg, Russia, when she was in eighth grade and quickly made a name for herself as a student at Marshall County High School.
She is this year’s Inspiration Award winner.
The Inspiration Award is given to a deserving student who was named as a Paducah Bank Teen of the Week during the school year. The award includes a $1,000 scholarship.
“The winner of the Inspiration Award must be a truly special person, and Anastasia certainly has unique qualities that I have seldom seen,” said Joe Framptom, chairman and CEO of Paducah Bank and Trust, the sponsor of the award and the weekly honor series featured in The Sun. “Along with her family, she migrated to the United States from Russia a short five years ago and, at the time, spoke little English.
“They settled in Marshall County — certainly a strange and very different environment — where she immersed herself and excelled. She has achieved a weighted grade-point average of 4.20.”
Shaverina, the daughter of Anatoliy Shaverin and Anna Shaverina of Benton, enjoyed her time in high school.
“I enjoy learning new things,” she said. “In Russia, you don’t get to choose which classes you take, but in America, you actually do, and there are many different opportunities for you to do the things you like.”
Shaverina said she enjoys social studies and math the most. Her participation in the Kentucky Junior Historical Society and success in its competitions are a testament to that.
Her National History Day exhibit took first place in state in her sophomore year, and her group exhibit took second in her junior year. Both finishes earned her trips to national competitions.
“Anastasia has participated in numerous activities during her high school career, yet has also had time to hold a restaurant job and travel,” Framptom said. “I am pleased that she found a hero in Alexander Hamilton and intends to follow the American Dream through hard work and a commitment to change.
“She has been inspired and has inspired others. I am confident she will use her $1,000 scholarship wisely as she continues her education.”
Shaverina said she would like to attend the University of Kentucky and study engineering.
She understands that this school year did not end as it typically does, but has worked through it in anticipation of graduation and starting her collegiate life.
“While we are staying at home, we have a lot of homework,” she said. “I have two college classes which are a little crazy, but I am almost done with them.
“I wish we could go back for one day to just see each other and know that that’s actually going to be the last day of school. On March 11, none of us knew it was going to be our last day of school. I remember leaving and talking to my friends, ‘Oh, I’ll see you Tuesday,’ but we never came back.”
While academics comes easily to Shaverina, she said one challenge in her high school life was improving her English. Another challenge was adjusting to small-town life in Benton after coming from a European city of 5 million people.
“I love Marshall County,” she said. “It’s an amazing place, and I would love my kids to grow up here. But, at the same time, I used to be able to go see a play or a musical or a ballet every two weeks. Here, you have to go to Nashville or Lexington to do some of that stuff.”
However, she credits her travels and experiences as a positive influence on her education.
“I think the more places you visit, the more people you meet,” she said. “You start looking differently at situations.
“Marshall County was so welcoming to me. When I came here, I was 13 years old and didn’t speak much English. It was so amazing to see how people would reach out to you and try to help you.”