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NHS Valedictorian, a leader by example

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Keith Steptoe is a young man of few words but when you are No. 1, maybe a few is all you need! The Navasota High School Valedictorian is headed to Texas A&M University this fall with a TAMU scholarship and will major in mechanical engineering but he’s keeping his options open when it comes to his long-term career goals.

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    EXAMINER PHOTO BY ERICA GRIFALDO

Keith Steptoe is a young man of few words but when you are No. 1, maybe a few is all you need! The Navasota High School Valedictorian is headed to Texas A&M University this fall with a TAMU scholarship and will major in mechanical engineering but he’s keeping his options open when it comes to his long-term career goals.

In addition, to the academic honor of being No. 1 in Navasota High School’s Top Ten, Steptoe lettered in football, basketball, baseball, track, and golf, and represented Navasota High School at UIL competitions. 

 

This National Honor Society member was also a member of the LEO Club, a youth branch of Lions Club International, and holds a part-time job at Stonecroft Marketplace. 

 

While some might assume that 5A high schools in neighboring counties with student populations of 1,700 - 2,000 might better prepare students for life after high school, Steptoe has no doubt about how Navasota High School has prepared him, or his 173 fellow graduates, for the next phase of life.

Steptoe said, “I’ve always thought Navasota was a good school.”

He continued, “A lot of people cheered me on and supported me. The most important one was my mom and teachers like Ms. Lee, Ms. Buchner and Mr. Barrett, and all of the coaches.”

 

Steptoe is modest about his academic accomplishments, saying, “I followed directions, did all my work and tried the best I could.”

Lifelong friend and Class of 2020 Salutatorian Weston Finke describes Steptoe as “humble” and a “genius” and said, “He deserves it more than anyone.”

Finke shared that their jockeying for No. 1 and No. 2 actually began with eighth grade graduation when Steptoe was eighth grade Valedictorian and Finke was eighth grade Salutatorian. The two students became part of a spirited, competitive, friendly rivalry which included a number of Navasota High School male students, many of whom are part of the Class of 2020 Top Ten.

 

For Steptoe, his best memories at Navasota High School revolve around football and basketball games, particularly the playoffs. Others that he might have looked back on fondly like UIL competition, prom, class trips scholarship award and graduation ceremonies were canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions. The biggest challenge at hand for the Class of 2020, according to Steptoe, is getting the work done at home and the uncertainty if they’ll be attending college in person or online.

The reserved Steptoe was short on advice for the incoming Class of 2024 but perhaps his best advice is quietly leading by example.