Top students have big plans ahead

Barrick to study computers at Tech after summer with friends

COVINGTON - Newton High School senior Joey Barrick is having a great year - he's the school's valedictorian and is planning to go to the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall. He's enjoyed his time in high school so much that he's getting sad about leaving it behind.

"(Graduating) is kind of a double-edged sword for me," said the 18-year-old Oxford resident. "It's great that I'll be really starting my life, but I'll be leaving a lot of stuff behind, too."

He said a lot of his friends - many of whom he's known for many years - aren't going to college with him, but he hopes to see a lot of them on the weekends back in Covington or elsewhere.

Until that time comes, he plans to spend a lot of time with them.

"I'll probably go to the lake a lot" this summer, he said.

Once in college, he plans to major in computer engineering, eventually hoping to earn his doctorate degree.

"I like computers, and I love math," he said about why he chose the program of study.

He said he isn't sure what kind of job he wants after college.

When he's not on the computer or in class, he enjoys ping pong, video games and baseball. While in high school, he was on the school's baseball team and also in groups like the Beta Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He said taking notes and paying attention in class helped him make the top of the class.

"It felt good to find myself in that group of people," he said making the top of the graduating class.

Heineman headed to Emory with hopes of making it in medicine

COVINGTON - Newton High School salutatorian Megan Heineman is getting ready to live out her dream of being in the medical field.

When she graduates from high school next weekend, she will be ready to begin college at Emory University in Atlanta, where she plans to major in biology and study pre-medicine.

She hasn't decided yet what field to specialize in, but perhaps anesthesiology. Whatever it is, she will be happy as long as she's involved in the medical field.

"I love science," she said. "And I've always wanted to help people."

When she wasn't busy with her science or Advanced Placement classes in high school, she was playing varsity soccer and varsity cross country and involved in several service groups, including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Amicae Jr. Civitan, Beta Club and the Junior Classical League. She also likes to travel.

When she found out she was in the top of the class, she said she was shocked.

"I didn't think I would be up here," she said. "There are so many people who are smarter than me."

She said listening and paying attention in class helped her most in making good grades.

"If you do that, you don't always have to study as much," said Heineman, who scored a 29 on her ACT.

Before she heads to college, she plans to vacation on several beaches - Jekyll Island, Panama City Beach and a beach in New Jersey - this summer with family and friends.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.