If you ask Payton Keller to describe her senior year, she will tell you it has been just that.
Payton will be the fourth top graduate of the Medina Valley High School 2023 graduating class. After graduating, she plans to study computer science and software engineering at Texas A&M University.
In college, Payton is looking forward more individuality and freedom.
“Growing up in a small town is wonderful. The community — you know everyone and you always have somebody to support you in everything,” she said. “I think to grow, though, you have to get away from that a little bit and figure out who you are. Not who other people expect you to be or who this community expects you to be.”
Payton, who attributes her academic success to time management and her teachers, said she is a goal-oriented person who is always reaching for the next step.
“If I have something on my mind — by all means — I’m going to do it. I’m not going to stop until I do it,” she said. “The whole thing with my academics is: I want to set myself up for success in the future whenever I’m out of school and college. I want to be successful.”
In high school, Payton has been part of Mu Alpha Theta, a mathematics honor society; the National Honor Society and the gifted and talented program. She also ran track, and played basketball and volleyball.
MVHS Head Volleyball Coach Deesa Griggs said Payton is internally driven.
“She sets high standards for herself and works tirelessly to achieve them,” she said. “ She quietly absorbs everything that she hears, and is always thoughtful in her responses.”
Payton has been a role model for her peers, always being respectful, meticulous with her school work and paying attention to detail, Griggs said.
Payton’s grandmother Kay Haby also described her as a perfectionist. She said that this trait along with intelligence and dedication will take her far in life.
“She knows what she wants,” Haby said. “We’re sure she’s going to succeed.”