• 39°

Tomorrow’s leaders: Katelyn Howell

Any graduation day is special, but May 28 will be unique for First Baptist Christian School, as it marks the day when its first senior class, a class of 11 students, graduates.

Katelyn Howell will be the first, First Baptist Christian student to attend the school from preschool — actually in Howell’s case since she was 2 years old — through graduation.

Howell’s senior year makes 16 years of classes. Now, she’s an honor student, a musician, a Crusader athlete and even a teacher herself.

Howell teaches and mentors sixth-grade girls. The double role of being a high school student and a teacher to kids who aren’t all that much younger fits in well with being a member of a groundbreaking senior class.

“I like teaching, and we’ve always been the oldest class, so I guess we’ve always sort of been an example,” Howell said.

“We didn’t have that, so it’s fun to try to help them,” Howell said.

First Baptist’s first senior class is small, but Howell is sure it’s making an impact that will be both positive and lasting.

“I think it’s an honor,” she says of her own first. Howell is proud of her class, as well.

“I think we’re leaders because we know we have to be. Becca (Ballance) has five younger brothers and sisters here, so of course we want to make the school better for the grades following us,” Howell said.

“All of us have different talents. Some of us are more like leaders, some of us are good teachers, some of are good in sports,” Howell said.

Howell is an active member at First Baptist Church. She’s played the guitar for three years and plays during church services. She is one of three seniors on the Lady Crusader basketball team, and the school awarded her the Timothy Award, symbolizing Christian character.

Among countless memories over 16 years, Howell specifically acknowledges her second-grade teacher.

“Mrs. Stowe, I loved her class. She is a great Bible teacher and a great example in life,” said Howell, and perhaps that’s where some of her own acumen for teaching comes from.

Howell’s made the principal’s list each of the last three years and won math and Bible awards last school year.

“I’ve always thought I’ve wanted to be with, to work with, kids, but now I’m also thinking about going into physical therapy,” Howell said. “I think that would be very rewarding. You have to be very smart and very dedicated, so it’s a high goal for me.”