Tommy Bell Award Winner Excels in. . . Everything

Patrick Keller

School: Lexington Catholic
Grade: 12th
Sport: Basketball, baseball
Academics: Patrick has a 4.0 GPA, scored 34 on the ACT and is a National Merit Scholarship finalist.
Parents: Lissa & Clarke

No wonder Lexington Catholic senior Patrick Keller won this year’s Tommy Bell Award, which honors the city’s top high school scholar athlete.

After all, what hasn’t Patrick accomplished?


  • Patrick, 18, will study pre-med and play basketball at Denison, a Division III school in Ohio.
  • A two-sport athlete for the Knights, Patrick, 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, played forward on two Regional champion basketball teams that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena.
  • A left-hander, Patrick pitched for a Regional champion baseball team that played in the State tournament at Whitaker Bank Park.
  • In the classroom, Patrick is a 4.0 student who scored 34 on the ACT.
  • He’s a member of the National Honor Society and is a National Merit Scholarship finalist.
  • As a junior and senior, he has taken eight AP classes and was the senior class president.
  • He excels in math and science and is an avid reader, studying such classics as Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” and Ibsen’s “The Doll House,” among others. Meanwhile, for pleasure he read “The Hunger Games” trilogy and Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.”
  • Since the eighth grade, he has volunteered with the Toyota Miracle League, a baseball organization for children with disabilities, and he’s a tutor at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.
  • Since middle school, he has run his own lawn-mowing business.

The key to his success? Hard work, long hours and good genes.

Because of his busy sports schedule, Patrick routinely started his homework after 10 p.m. and frequently worked past midnight. He also brings natural ability to the classroom.

His father, Clarke, is a graduate of Notre Dame and UK law school, and his mother, Lissa, has her master’s degree in social work from UK.

His sister Mackenzie is a Notre Dame grad and currently is studying at UK’s Patterson School of Diplomacy.

In athletics, Clarke played basketball at Harrodsburg High and spent one year as a walk-on at Notre Dame. Lissa ran track and cross-country as one of the first females to be granted an athletic scholarship at UK.

“Patrick has natural ability, has always worked hard, and he’s a self-starter,” Clarke said.

Patrick also is blessed with an exceptional memory. “We were on a car trip when he was 5 and the cassette tape of the book ‘Maynard Moose’ wouldn’t work,” Lissa said.

“All of a sudden, Patrick started reciting the whole book, changing his voice for all the characters. We were amazed that he could recall the whole thing.”

Speaking of memories, he won’t soon be forgotten at Lexington Catholic.