Paxton Junkin’s future wide open

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, May 2, 2018

NATCHEZ — Paxton Junkin shines brightly on the football field and even brighter in the classroom. He is the only eighth-grade student to be part of Cathedral High School’s Science Olympiad team that recently won first place at the state tournament of science and technology competition.

Eighteen students competed in the event, Junkin said, and he was moved up from the middle school team to the high school team to help them win the state competition at the University of Southern Mississippi last month.

“We’re going to nationals and they needed a couple more people,” Junkin said. “They bumped up three of us but two of them were in ninth-grade. I was the only eighth-grader.”

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Junkin said he enjoys math and science, but his passion is football. He said the New Orleans Saints are his favorite team, but he’d like to play for almost any college football team.

“I’m up with the Saints,” Junkin said.

The Science Olympiad competition is much like an athletic challenge, testing the students’ strengths and abilities in a variety of studies and tasks.

Like football, it requires year-round preparation, commitment, coaching and practice. The competition requires active and hands-on group participation, where teamwork is a key factor.

“All of our high school people stayed late, worked late and worked very hard for a very long time,” Junkin said.

Cathedral’s team is currently raising funds for travel to the national tournament at Colorado State University later this month.

Junkin is the son of John Ward Junkin and Ashley Junkin. He enjoys taking apart and building things and has already considered being an engineer, a veterinarian or maybe even a business entrepreneur.

As a straight A student at Cathedral, Junkin said he feels confident he can follow any career path he chooses.

“There are a lot of things that interest me,” Junkin said.