COVINGTON -- One wants to go to medical school, and the other wants to play basketball.
The top two 2012 graduates at Alcovy High School lead two different lives, but that is also what helps valedictorian Robert Hight and salutatorian Kate Palo stay friends.
They've known each other since beginning high school, mostly by taking a lot of the same classes.
So when the race for the top two spots was almost over, they knew it would be close.
"Very close," Palo said, adding that she will miss all of their study time together. "He's my other half."
It won't be a long drive for 18-year-old Robert Hight if he gets a little homesick after he goes away to college in the fall.
Hight, son of Robert Hight and Lisa Perdomo of Covington, will enroll at Oxford College this year.
"They have a good biology program," he said about his school of choice, adding that he's looking forward to meeting new people, even though it's close to home.
He hopes to one day attend medical school at Emory University and go into the neurology field.
"I've always been interested in science, ever since I was younger," he said.
He's enjoyed Advanced Placement biology and AP calculus while in high school. In all, he ended up taking eight AP classes, including six this semester.
He also was in several clubs, including Anchor, Overdramatics, student council and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, among others.
For his academics, he's earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship, the Martin Luther King scholarship, the Dean Merit scholarship, an Anchor club scholarship and a Lions Club scholarship.
"I've stayed focused," he said. "I want to make sure I achieve my goals."
Although 18-year-old Palo has achieved a lot on the basketball court, she's also had success in the classroom.
Palo has played basketball for eight years, including in recreation, middle school and high school, in which the varsity team made it to the Final Four this year.
Because of her skills and academics, she earned a full athletic scholarship for basketball to Georgia College.
"I like the competition and I have a passion for the sport," said Palo, daughter of Arnold Palo of Covington.
She hopes to be a point guard on the varsity team in college.
While at Georgia College, she plans to study exercise science so she can become a physical therapist.
"I want to stay in the athletic field and I love helping people," she said.
She participated in the Certified Nurse Assistant Program at the Newton College and Career Academy through a dual enrollment program with Georgia Piedmont Technical College this year.
Also during high school, she took six AP courses and was president of the student council and a member of FCA and Anchor clubs.