Spotlight on: Class of 2024 valedictorian Victoria Stapf

Class of 2024 valedictorian Victoria Stapf

Spotlight on: Victoria Stapf
Class of 2024 valedictorian


Herkimer Central School District recently announced the Class of 2024 valedictorian as Victoria Stapf and the salutatorian as Kyle Carney.

This spotlight is on valedictorian Victoria Stapf.

Both students took a demanding course load and participated in various extracurricular activities on the way to their academic accomplishment, so they were happy when they officially found out their class rankings.

“It felt really good to know that after all these years of hard work and putting in the extra hours on homework and studying for assignments to really feel rewarded for my efforts,” Stapf said.

Stapf is the daughter of Robert Stapf and Heather WheelerStapf of Little Falls. She will graduate with 29.5 high school credits and 21 college credits through taking five College Now classes and three AP classes. She will receive a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation with Honors and Mastery in Math and Science with a Seal of Biliteracy.

For extracurricular activities, Stapf served on the Student Council including three years as secretary, held various Class of 2024 officer positions including class president for the last two years, was in the National Honor Society, represented Herkimer at the Herkimer County Youth Summit, was in the Model United Nations Club, was the Yearbook Club editor in chief, was the backstage manager for musical productions and played soccer, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field.

An award for highest grade-point average in seventh grade gave Stapf a goal and put her on the path toward becoming valedictorian. Stapf believes she would have succeeded in school with or without that goal but that it helped her.

“I feel like it was always in my nature to work hard and always get good grades,” Stapf said. “I don’t think I would have ever let myself slip up, but knowing that I had that goal in mind, it made it easier to push through the harder assignments knowing that I had this bigger goal that I had to achieve.”

Stapf’s next step will be majoring in chemical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, which she described as a small but acclaimed engineering school in Indiana.

“In chemical engineering, there’s a lot you can do with that,” Stapf said. “I’m not 100% committed to a certain career path, but I know I want to pick a career that will help address climate change – the climate crisis. Climate change has always been such an important topic in my life – it’s been one of the driving factors that motivates me toward inspiring change, especially in my community.”

Stapf attended a Project Fibonacci Foundation STEAM Leadership Conference in July 2023 at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome that was centered on climate change and what can be done about it.

“And I really want to explore that more at a more in-depth scale and also in a position where I can make a larger impact,” Stapf said.

Stapf said her classes at Herkimer have prepared her for her college by encouraging students to take a more in-depth look at the content.

“So in my chemistry class, for example, we may have looked at the topic required by New York state, but then there’s also more context and detail around that to really inspire you to learn more and not just memorize basic facts,” Stapf said. “I think that’s part of it – just developing that level of curiosity and interest in the subject matter, which really inspired me to want to pursue that in college.”

When asked, Stapf provided advice to younger Herkimer students just entering high school.

“My biggest recommendation is that students diversify their schedule and don’t just take study halls because when you take interesting electives or you try to challenge yourself with harder classes, you get more out of your school experience, and also when you take electives, as opposed to sticking with the same core classes, you get to experience classes with a different group of people and certain new perspectives,” Stapf said.

For her valedictorian speech at graduation, Stapf has been thinking about what she wants to say to her classmates.

“My main goal is to point out to my whole grade that we’ve all had incredible achievements over the last four years, and that has brought us here, and we worked hard to reach this point, and I know that from this point, we are all going to go on to do so many great, diverse things with the opportunities that were given to us by our school,” Stapf said.


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