Northside valedictorian makes room for success

Published 4:47 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

BELHAVEN — Kody Jefferson, 17, knew what he had to do.

Using his resources at Northside High School, along with a dual enrollment at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Jefferson secured his spot as Northside’s class of 2017 valedictorian.

“I decided that I would dual enroll in the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. I was the first person at Northside to do that, especially through the online program,” Jefferson said. “Doing that, I was able to take classes through NCSSM that weren’t otherwise offered at Northside.”

Time management played a large role in Jefferson’s high school career. He played a sport every year — football his freshman year and then switching to cross-country. Jefferson credits his parents with supporting him along the way and making education an important part of his life, even at an early age.

“It does kind of come down to time management because before school started, I was able to sit down and say, ‘All right, during the school year, I want to be involved in this, this and this,’” he recalled. “So I said, ‘In the fall, I’ll play a sport, and then in the spring, I’ll do academic competitions.’”

Jefferson’s reliance on time management pushed him to the No. 1 spot, although he said the top three students’ GPAs were all within a tenth of a point of one another.

He plans to attend N.C. State University this fall to study engineering. Come August, Jefferson will have plenty of time for what he loves most.

“I like tinkering with stuff. My mom sometimes gets on me because something will disappear, and it turns out I’ve taken it apart to see how it works, but most of the time it got put back together,” Jefferson said. “I’ve heard if you love your career, you’ll never go to work a day in your life.”

College is a big step for Jefferson, who has lived in Belhaven his whole life, but it’s a step for which he is ready.

“I’ve lived in such a small town my whole life. It’s going to be a large adjustment,” he said. “The people at N.C. State is 40,000, and Belhaven’s like not even 2,000, so 20 Belhavens could fit inside N.C. State, basically.”

By employing the skills he already knows — taking initiative and managing his schedule — Jefferson is on the path to success.

This is the third in a three-part series highlighting the class of 2017 valedictorians at Beaufort County’s three largest high schools.