The Covington News - - NEWS -

New­ton County High School se­nior Ian Cole isn’t wor­ried about much th­ese days.

The 17-year-old is months away from grad­u­at­ing and has al­ready been ac­cepted in the col­lege of his choice, but there is one more thing Cole needs to do be­fore he can wave good­bye to high school life.

Cole has been named the vale­dic­to­rian of his high school class and with that comes the in­fa­mous vale­dic­to­rian speech he must give to his class­mates at the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

Cole, who hasn’t start­ing writ­ing his speech yet, is feel­ing a lit­tle ner­vous about it. those re­wards. He’s al­ready been ac­cepted to the Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia and is an­tic­i­pat­ing be­ing a col­lege fresh­man.

He’s plan­ning to ma­jor in sci­en­tific and med­i­cal il­lus­tra­tions.

“I like art and science,” said Cole. “I didn’t want to fo­cus too heav­ily on a field that was just science and shy away from the arts, so I wanted to look at some­thing that would do a lit­tle bit of both.”

New­ton High School’s salu­ta­to­rian, Brit­tany Webb, hasn’t cho­sen a school for higher ed­u­ca­tion yet, but she’s hop­ing to hear back from her top schools in March.

The 17-year-old is fas­ci­nated by math and sharks, but isn’t sure which sub­ject mat­ter she should purse full-time.

“I think I want to ma­jor in math and mi­nor in bi­ol­ogy be­cause I re­ally love statis­tics and I re­ally love sharks, so I don’t know what I want to with my life be­cause I re­ally want don’t want to give ei­ther one of them up,” said Webb.

While her col­le­giate fu­ture is still up in the air, like Cole, she isn’t too estatic about be­ing the salu­ta­to­rian of the school.

“It’s pretty cool. I mean I’m not like jump­ing off the walls,” said Webb about her po­si­tion. “It’s a thing that hap­pened.”

She once had as­pi­ra­tions to be the vale­dic­to­rian but determined it didn’t mat­ter whether she was first, sec­ond or third in the fi­nal re­sults.

“The col­leges I’m go­ing to it’s not go­ing to make much of dif­fer­ence to them ei­ther way,” she said. “Ul­ti­mately, it didn’t mat­ter a whole lot. I mean it’s cool, but that’s all it is.”

While Webb isn’t mak­ing a big deal about her sta­tus, her friends and fam­ily, her fa­ther, mother and older brother, didn’t get that memo.

Her friends joke with her that she should’ve been num­ber one, and Webb’s fa­ther blames her sec­ondary po­si­tion on an in­tern­ship she worked.

Un­like Cole, Webb is feel­ing the pres­sure of hav­ing to give her speech at grad­u­a­tion.

“I think I’m just go­ing to wing it,” she said about her salu­ta­to­rian speech. “I feel like I’m more gen­uine when I do it that way.”

“I don’t re­ally do a lot of public speak­ing,” said Cole. “I’m not used to giv­ing speeches, so I’m def­i­nitely ner­vous about it.

The an­nu­ally speech even has Cole’s fa­ther slightly ner­vous.

“My dad is happy. He’s just wor­ried about me hav­ing to give the speech,” said Cole. “I think he’s sort of play­ing about that, but he didn’t seem too ex­cited about me hav­ing to give a speech.”

But Cole thinks with a lit­tle bit of prac­tic­ing recit­ing his speech and get­ting in the right frame of mind, he’ll be OK.

“It’s mostly just about get­ting into the idea,” he said. “I’m work­ing on that.”

Other than the giv­ing the speech, the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing named the vale­dic­to­rian has been a bit un­der­whelm­ing for Cole. While be­ing at the top of the class is some­thing he pursed close to the end of his sopho­more year, over time it “just seemed to hap­pen.”

“It’s not too big of thing for me, but a lot of peo­ple congratulate me for me for it. I just do the work like I’ve al­ways done,” Cole said. “I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing it, but then peo­ple kept say­ing it would be one of three peo­ple.”

What­ever but­ter­flies he may be feel­ing is well worth it.

Cole’s fam­ily, in­clud­ing his fa­ther, mother and older brother, has al­ways pushed him to do well in school. Not to be vale­dic­to­rian but be­cause do­ing well would open more doors to a bet­ter fu­ture.

Now, Cole is reap­ing the benefits of

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