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St. Joseph valedictorian credits success to her class, school

By KBell
May 26, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.
Updated May 27, 2011 at 12:27 a.m.

Stephanie Kasper, 17, swings at the Texas Trouble batting cages. The St. Joseph High School softball player has been named this year's valedictorian. "I know which days are going to be tough and I work around them," Stephanie said of managing sports and school.

For as competitive as Stephanie Kasper is on the softball field, she's surprisingly laid back in the classroom.

But she's just as successful.

After pointing out the St. Joseph High School's state softball championship trophy, Stephanie, 17, reflected on her school career that led her to become the valedictorian.

"Our class isn't a competitive, every-point-matters kind of class. We're all friends," Stephanie said. "I don't think I ever really thought to myself, 'I want to be No. 1.' It was more that I want to do the best I can, and it turned out to be No. 1."

Stephanie said the family-like atmosphere at St. Joseph High School enabled her success.

"Everyone cares about what you're doing. Everybody's an important part of the community here," she said.

Because of the small school, Stephanie was able to participate in cross country, basketball and even the school play, all the while maintaining her grades.

"In other places, you may have to just focus on school in order to be valedictorian," she said. "There's not just the nerds, the people who do sports. Everyone gets to do everything because there's only a certain number of people."

Stephanie said she will most miss seeing her classmates after graduating. The class has become closer to each other every passing year, enduring the difficult classes and packed schedules as a team.

"All of us are in it together. You know if you were up late last night, everyone was up late last night," she said.

Stephanie will have to continue balancing a demanding schedule as she heads off to Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., where she will also play softball.

Because it's a small school like St. Joseph, Stephanie said she's looking forward to the experience and to the challenge of leaving her hometown.

"I'm excited about exploring both the outside world and myself, away from my parents, figuring out who I am," she said.



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