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Posted: May 10, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Going out on top

Rams valendictorian, saludictorian use achievements to serve others

By Brittany Thomas/

Newton High School valedictorian Sarah Lanners, right, and saludictorian Geoff Nolan

Being named Newton High School's Valedictorian and Salutatorian is an honor but for Sarah Lanners and Geoff Nolan, it's not too much of a surprise since both have worked diligently throughout their high school careers to get to this point.
Both students have been involved with various organizations both in and out of school, including Key Club, Beta Club the Newton High School Change Agents, which is a community service based club, and both are active in their churches.

Sarah Lanners
Valedictorian Lanners, 17, is the school's STAR student and will attend Davidson College in North Carolina where she plans to study religion.

"I want to study religion because of its impact on the world," she said, citing the many wars throughout history that have come about as a result of religious differences.

A member of the Covington Regional Ballet, Lanners also plans to audition for the college's dance company.
Prior to heading to college she will be heading to North Carolina for a church trip. She also plans to attend a ballet partnering camp, babysit and help with some ballet camps.

Though modest, Lanners said it was not a shock to find out that she was at the top of her graduating class. She said she had kept up with her rank since her sophomore year and had many teachers tell her that she was number one in her class.

Geoff Nolan
Nolan, 18, will attend the University of Georgia in the fall in their honors program where he plans to double major in cellular biology and Spanish with a minor in religion. He plans to attend medical school and wants to join the Peace Corps and serve in Latin America. He wants to specialize in children's cancer and blood disorders.

"I love biology and the Spanish culture and I have always been interested in religion," he said of his career choices.
Nolan attended the Governor's Honors Program for social studies last year and says that history, biology, chemistry and Spanish are his favorite subjects.

Along with school-related activities, Nolan is also a member of the Oxford Youth singers and a volunteer at Heartland Hospice.
Before school he plans to attend the senior trip to San Antonio with his church, help with the Arts Association in Newton County's annual Creative Kids Camp and he hopes to attend Dawg Camp at UGA and to volunteer at a camp for children with sickle cell anemia.

Like Lanners, Nolan wasn't surprised at his rank; he said he knew that it would be between him and his best friend and that the two were happy for one another's successes.

"Sarah and Geoff are extremely impressive students and even better young people," said NHS Principal Dr. Roderick Sams. "I am grateful to have them represent their peers as well as the NHS family. Each of them has a bright futures and success awaits them because of their immense talents. And I want to thank both Sarah and Geoff for their contributions to our school. Their presence here has truly made Newton High School a better place."

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