Senior Rhett Barlow reflects on his career as a Cougar

Barlow lists JROTC, Ms. Pope and Mr. Mattingly among his largest influeces


Runder Rains, Staff Reporter

“I’d like to think I left a good impact on the school,” senior Rhett Barlow said reflecting on his previous highschool years. “I’d like to think that everybody I’ve encountered, I’ve touched their life in some way. I’ve helped everybody that I’ve tried to.”

Leaving this year to start a new phase in his life, Barlow expresses his anticipation for the future.

“I hope the impact that I make will carry on in future generations, even at this school. That whatever I did here will play out, because, ultimately, it’s all about the future. It’s all about bettering the next,” Barlow said.

Although Barlow feels prepared for entering into adult life, he is apprehensive about graduating like many of his peers.

“I’m anxious for sure. I guess we all have that senioritis mentality kicking in, but it’s getting difficult to override that whole mentality,” Barlow said.

After graduation, Barlow is jumping straight into the next steps for his future and expressed that his experience in the JROTC program has helped him prepare for these steps.

“I’m actually doing Army National Guard, so I’m doing SMP programs and going to basic training this summer. And then I’m going to NC State in the spring as an ROTC cadet,” Barlow said.

Barlow chose to attend NCSU for a few reasons that stood out to him.

“They have a really good political science program,” Barlow said. “I want to be, hopefully, a lobbyist, so for some interest group. I don’t know what interest group yet, but I know I want to be some political lobbyist. I want to be in the field of politics.”

The atmosphere of the school also appeals to Barlow and contributed to his college choice.

“I feel like that school is just a huge family. I just want to be a part of a family,” Barlow said.

For Barlow, family remains an important anchor as he moves forward.

“Honestly, I just miss being with my family most. It’s like the more high school happened, the less time I had to spend with my family, so I definitely just miss the moments of hanging out with my family at home,” Barlow said.

In addition to family, Barlow conveys what he will miss most about high school.

“I’m going to miss the friendships because we’re all going off in different directions. I’m definitely going to miss the people.”

Throughout his four years here, a few teachers and classes impacted Barlow more than others.

“Ms. Pope. I love Ms. Pope. She was like a second mother to me. She was a great teacher. She always taught, but she always loved her students more than anything else. She was mentor as well,” Barlow said.  “I love AP government with Mr. Mattingly. He’s a great teacher. He’s like a father to me as well. It’s just classes like that, where you get to know your teacher and that are so personal—they make the biggest impact.”

From first-hand experience, Barlow shares some advice to guide the younger students.

“Don’t slack off your senior year because I slacked off my first quarter, and I’m trying desperately to recover from that now,” Barlow said. “Don’t be stupid, because we all make stupid choices in high school. Stupid choices build and make more stupid choices. So make smart decisions and follow the right crowd.”

Reviewing his high school experience, Barlow is overall pleased with what he completed and his growth.

Barlow said, “I’m definitely proud of my accomplishments in JROTC. Getting up to a position of top three in the program, and being able to lead all the cadets that I was. That was one of my greatest achievements. And A/B honor roll, obviously. I was really proud of that too.”