Both Garnett and Salies mastered juggling a full academic load with numerous extracurricular activities, whilst Garnett maintained his 4.5 weighted grade point average and Salies maintained her 4.1 weighted grade point average.
Each attributed different factors to their success, like effective time management.
Salies, for instance, did not become as active with extracurricular activities until her senior year, when she joined National Senior Beta Club, because she worked a part-time job in the evenings and weekends.
“Studying is key,” she said. “But I really give my success to God. I pray before every test I take. I study and pray when I study. It’s the only reason I’m salutatorian.”
Despite Salies’ academic success, she has had to surmount many obstacles, namely adjusting to life in the U.S. after leaving her home country of France when she was in eighth grade.
“English is not my first language,” she said. “When I took advanced placement English, it was a challenge as well as learning how to write and bettering my English in general.”
Garnett has perfected the way he approaches his studies in order to become a top student.
“Where others may not take things seriously or slack off, I have a solid work ethic,” he said. “Even from freshman year, I’ve had that work ethic which helped me keep my grades up.”
Garnett said mathematics was a challenge for him initially, but through putting in extra time, he was able to excel, along with finessing his love of art.
“I am heavily involved with art, drawing and painting,” he said. “I was in advanced placement studio art and am developing a portfolio.”
While Garnett emphasized the importance of honing a strong work ethic to rising seniors, Salies spoke to the power of remaining encouraged.
“Patience and perseverance,” she said.
“My advice to incoming students would be to take challenging courses. Expect the worst but hope for the best for your years in high school.”
Salies will attend Georgia State University in the fall and major in international economics.
Also in the fall, Garnett will attend Georgia Tech and major in architecture.