Newton High School's 2013 valedictorian is Alex Grady, right, and the salutatorian is Brittain Hunt. Grady will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall, and Hunt will go to Georgia College & State University. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
COVINGTON -- It might be fate that seniors Alex Grady and Brittain Hunt ended up in the top graduating spots this year at Newton High School.
Before they even began school, they grew up in the same neighborhood, and then when they attended Fairview Elementary School, they ended up being vocabulary bowl champions.
They attended separate middle schools, but then the two were taking classes together again at Newton High School, where they will be the last graduating class of the school. A new high school will open in the fall.
"It's the closing of memories," said Hunt, whose parents both attended Newton High.
"I feel like we left our mark -- we came in with a goal and now we're moving on," Grady added.
Eighteen-year-old Grady will carry his love of math that he developed more in high school with him to the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall.
"Ever since I was a little kid, I loved working with my hands and loved to build things and see how things are made," said Grady, son of Lexiton and Heidi Grady of Covington.
He plans to major in mechanical engineering to pursue a career working with transportation vehicles or aerospace engineering.
Grady chose Tech because of it's engineering program. He also received an academic and sports scholarship to the school, where he will participate in cross country and track.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge," he said.
Even though he's taken 12 Advanced Placement classes throughout high school, he said he was surprised about earning the top spot.
"There's a wide variety of students who have a variety of talents," he said. "For me to come out of top is truly a blessing."
He said in high school, he's had to develop his time management skills and work ethic. He also stays up late to study and doesn't procrastinate.
While he's succeeded in class, he's also had success in sports. He set school records in track and field and cross country and made it to multiple state events.
A Gates Millennium Scholar recipient as well, Grady also was involved with the math team, student government, the National Honor Society, the Key Club and the Academic Team.
This summer, he plans to continue tutoring middle school students and look for an internship.
Eighteen-year-old Hunt also has kept busy in high school.
Hunt, son of Karen Clackum and John Hunt of Covington, was enrolled in the dual enrollment program at Georgia Perimeter College for the past two years. He will end up as nearly a sophomore when he enters Georgia College & State University in the fall.
He plans to major in political science and minor in mass communication. Eventually, he might attend law school at Mercer University or the University of Georgia.
"I've always had the dream of being a lawyer," he said. "I have a passion."
He said he's looking forward to being independent and taking his next step in life. He's had a lot of late nights and gone without sleep.
"I've given my extra effort on everything," he said.
Even so, he said he was "absolutely" surprised to be named a top graduate.
"I know I've worked hard, but I didn't know my hard work would be rated that high," he said.
This summer, he plans to continue working at Square Perk and prepare for school.