Northside, Roanoke College athlete to graduate valedictorian

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Achievement is nothing new to Roanoke College graduating senior Kasey Draper.

After a successful basketball career with the Maroons and Northside Vikings, Draper has earned Valedictorian honors, managing a 4.0 from Roanoke College.

“I’m very structured person,” Draper explains. “Being able to be structured and having everything laid out really helped me. There were definitely some late nights involved where I was losing sleep because I was agonizing over making sure everything was perfect and all of those sorts of things, but really just putting in a lot of hard work and making sure I knew what to do is what really helped me out with balancing class and basketball.”

Maintaining a high standard of excellence on and off the court is something Draper says was developed through his time at Northside High School.

“I would say I’m definitely internally motivated. It’s how I’ve always been. A lot of my teachers at Northside, they also gave me the tools that were necessary to succeed in college, especially with my writing, being a liberal arts college here at Roanoke College. My writing and reading were significantly improved from my high school experience. In my college experience, I felt equipped and ready to handle anything that was thrown at me in the college realm so I give Northside a lot of credit for that. Also just fostering through basketball and my coaching staff at Northside were very good as well.”

From athletics to academics, Draper says he is grateful for the support of the Roanoke Valley community through it all.

“[My teammates] call me the hometown hero,” he laughs. “I don’t know how I feel about that. But it’s always cool to go around and interact with people that know me, whether it’s from high school or from the college. Being that hometown guy, staying here for college was really cool for me. Whether I stay here afterwards or not just be an impact in the community.”

Draper will play his final year of eligibility at Assumption University, a D-2 school in Massachusetts. After that, he hopes to just make a difference.

“My dream is to own and operate my own business, whether it’s here in the Roanoke Valley or somewhere else.”