John Stepp’s Profile


By: Micah E. McClain

At first glance, John Stepp may seem like a stereotypical, football-playing African-American male, but there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Stepp, a senior defensive tackle at duPont Manual high school in Louisville, uses his knowledge and wit to make something of himself on and off the field.

The 17-year-old is one of the few African-American students enrolled in a program at Manual that’s designed to prepare students for such fields as engineering and science.

“When people ask me what major I’m in, they’re shocked because I’m a black male in the Math, Science & Technology Program,” he said.

Stepp said people don’t usually expect him to succeed because he’s a minority, but he does well in his classes and has a 2.7 grade-point average.

“I like feeling like I did something important,” he said. “Maybe not even by someone else’s standards but by mine and how I see success.”

His interests include writing poetry and spending time with his father, Keith Stepp, who recently helped him get ready for the junior prom.

“It’s good to have someone to bounce ideas off of — someone who knows you,” John Stepp said.

Starting with a tie, the father and son duo built a unique fashion ensemble for the junior prom.

“We agreed that I should wear a suit no one would wear instead of looking like a giant Popsicle in a bright, colorful tuxedo.”

Although he wanted to stand out at that event, John Stepp is usually more low-key. He spends a lot of time listening to music on his iPod and contemplating his future and various life issues.

“I have different mindsets, almost like multiple personalities, because I’m always over thinking things,” said Stepp, who hopes to major in engineering, business or journalism in college.