The ACT is one of two widely recognized college entrance exams, and according to the test company, only about 700 of the 1.6 million high school seniors who take the test make a perfect score.
Woodstock High School Principal Dr. Paul Weir said Steppe is a great example of what dedication can achieve.
“As a school, we love to have students achieving at high levels, and that’s just about as high as you can get,” Weir said. “It just shows if you’re willing and you’re capable to put in the hard work and the effort, that the teachers here can really help students achieve at very, very high levels.”
Weir said this accomplishment will “open up doors” for Steppe when it comes to things like college applications and scholarships.
Steppe’s ACT achievement does not stand alone; she was also named a 2013 Governor’s Honors Program finalist for mathematics and was a 2013 Superintendent’s Key Scholar.
The principal said Steppe “seems to be everywhere in the school,” and is involved with clubs, events and organizations.
“She’s a very involved young lady in the school,” Weir said.
Steppe said she didn’t expect to earn a perfect score, since she had attended a Woodstock and Etowah football game the night before.
She found out early one morning before school about her score.
“I was just about to go in early for morning swim practice, and I looked online and freaked out,” Steppe said. “I told one of my friends, and she told the whole school.”
When she logged into the online database to see her score, Steppe said she had to check a few times before she believed it.
“I’m really, really excited. When I saw the score I really didn’t believe it,” she said. “I had to log out and log back in like four times.”
School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said Steppe’s accomplishment “is a remarkable feat.”
“She will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and superintendent of schools at the next school board meeting on Dec. 5,” Jacoby added in a news release.
Jacoby said, so far, Steppe is the only student in Cherokee County schools she has heard of making a perfect score this year. Last year, only one Cherokee County student from Etowah High School made a perfect ACT score, she said.
Steppe said she spent time the week before the exam studying math concepts online, but didn’t take a preparation class. She hopes to attend Stanford University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology for engineering.
“I actually wasn’t planning on going to either of the schools and then I got this score and was like, now maybe I should,” Steppe said. “All I know is that I love math and science, and engineering is kind of the brainchild of that.”
Steppe is also the captain of her school’s swim team, and is involved with varsity cross-country running and cheerleading.
She’s also president of the National Honors Society and is her class’s representative in the school’s student government.
Steppe said all of the activities she participates in at school takes up most of her time, but she “manages to get seven hours of sleep each night.”