Steele Student-Athlete Makes Historic Decision
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Northwest ISD’s James M. Steele Accelerated High School Student-Athlete Makes Historic Decision
Posted on 11/18/2020
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“I’ve always known that I could make a difference as an athlete,” said James M. Steele Accelerated High School senior Chloe Culver.  “It’s difficult to put into words how excited I am that my dream is actually becoming a reality.”

chloe culver signing day

On Wednesday, November 11, Culver became the first student-athlete in her school’s history to sign a NCAA National Letter of Intent, signifying her objective to play collegiate sports and continue her academic pursuits.  Culver signed to play beach volleyball with San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif.  Since Steele Accelerated High School is not a traditional comprehensive high school with school sports, the school has never participated in a signing day for prospective college athletes.

“The entire process has been so life-changing,” said Culver.  “I still haven’t toured the campus — this is such a leap of faith — but I know it’s where I am supposed to go!”

chloe culver signing day

While many female Division I volleyball players showcase their height to the best of their ability, Culver — measuring a mere 5 feet 6 inches — does not initially emerge as a highly recruited athlete.  But once she gets in the sand, her fierce competitiveness draws immediate attention.

“I’m traditionally not tall enough for the sport,” Culver said.  “I kept hearing from so many colleges that they had their players already, but I knew I was different.  San Jose was the first school that truly saw my potential and what I could offer them in the sand.”

Culver enrolled at James M. Steele Accelerated High School in Roanoke, Texas after completing several years of on-line learning in order to keep a flexible schedule and continue her athletic training.  After hearing about the various opportunities for personal learning at Steele and after careful consideration and planning with Steele Principal Todd Rogers — Culver changed high schools her senior year. 

“In a very short time,” Rogers said, “Chloe has become a leader and active member of Steele Nation.  She was largely instrumental as we worked to become an approved NCAA campus and have our very own first signing day.”

Culver recognized that even though changing high schools late in her schooling was demanding, it was exactly what she needed.

“I was the new student who also just happened to be a senior who knew zero other people,” she said.  “On the plus side, I ended up with so many great relationships and competitive advantages.  Steele taught me how to manage my time wisely, it gave me the best hands-on experience, and prepared me for life after high school.”

Adjusting to a new school is just one of many challenging obstacles Culver has faced this year.  In late August, she was involved in a freak skateboarding accident where she was hit by a BMX biker and subsequently lacerated her kidney.

“There were a few weeks there of rehabilitation were I suddenly thought all of my dreams were over,” said Culver.  “I honestly didn’t think I would ever be able to play volleyball again.  I’m so thankful to everyone that made sure that didn’t end up being the case.”

Culver plans to graduate early from Steele in December, play a spring sand volleyball season at Beach 10K in Plano, and take the following six months to work until she reports to San Jose State in the fall of 2021.  The flexibility offered at Steele Accelerated High School has given Culver the opportunity to pursue her own individualized path.

chloe culver signing day

“I want to have an official end to my senior year,” said Culver.  “So many people didn’t get those opportunities last year.  I want to go to prom.  I want to walk the stage at graduation.  I want to make sure I have all of those experiences before I leave for college.”

As a student-athlete at San Jose State, Culver’s game plan is to pursue a degree in chemical engineering.