JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cathedral High School senior Pepper Taylor set a personal goal of being named the valedictorian early on in her high school career.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cathedral High School senior Pepper Taylor set a personal goal of being named the valedictorian early on in her high school career.

Archived Story

Taylor reaches top of Cathedral class

Published 12:09am Friday, May 24, 2013

NATCHEZ — Since entering high school, Pepper Taylor aimed to be the valedictorian of Cathedral High School.

Taylor’s freshman English teacher asked the class to set one major goal.

“I set that goal and really pushed to be the valedictorian,” she said. “My mom sometimes asked me why I was so hard on myself in school, and I told her that I had set that goal.”

She will graduate from Cathedral with a more-than-perfect 4.3 GPA and a long list of extracurricular activities.

Taylor said she owes her GPA to good grades in all of the advanced placement courses that Cathedral offers.

During her time at Cathedral, Taylor played soccer and ran cross country and track. During her senior year, she was vice president of Key Club and president of her class.

Taylor said she is excited to graduate, but said she will miss Cathedral.

“I’ll especially miss soccer games,” she said. “But I’m definitely going to try to come back for games.”

After graduating, Taylor will attend Mississippi State University in Starkville, a choice that was generations in the making.

“My mom, dad, brother and sister all went to Mississippi State,” she said. “But I chose it because I love the atmosphere and the people there.”

Taylor’s hard work, stellar GPA and 29 ACT score has paid off. She will be attending MSU using some of the myriad of the approximately $67,000 in scholarships she earned.

She hasn’t picked a major yet, but is interested in biology, something that may have sprung from her high school biomedical research class.

“I owe a lot of my knowledge to my biomedical research teacher Mrs. (Denise) Thibodeaux,” she said.

Taylor said she plans to work as hard in her college studies as high school and participate in Greek life.

Taylor said she was initially nervous about her valedictorian speech, but her butterflies disappeared as she wrote the speech.

“I want to speak from my heart and make it my own,” Taylor said. I am going to say that you can keep your memories and leave your comfort zone and still succeed.”