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Top Dogs: RCHS val, sal head to bright futures
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Kharine Jean, left, and Jordyn Jones, right - photo by Michelle Kim

This year's Rockdale County High School valedictorian and salutatorian Kharine Jean and Jordyn Jones prove that it really does take a team to achieve great things. The two have been friends and study partners since tenth grade, when they would walk to the Nancy Guinn Library to prep for Advanced Placement classes.

Kharine Jean, Valedictorian

Kharine Jean will continue to wear the Bulldog red and black - but now as a University of Georgia 'dawg.

The 18-year-old is heading to Athens this fall to study psychology to become a neuropsychologist.

"I've always been interested in psychology, learning about the mind," she said. "I thought I wanted to become a criminal psychologist. But when I took AP psychology, I realized I love how the brain itself works... It's crazy how one little thing can paralyze you if it goes wrong."

In addition to four AP classes, she took six dual enrollment classes, where she received college credit, and was a member of the National Beta Club, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta. She received a UGA Merit Award and a scholarship from the Georgia Stepper's League. She is also captain of the Girls' Step Team, an activity she's done since seventh grade.

Jean, daughter of Marie and Rene Jean and the second youngest of six siblings, moved to Conyers from Lithonia at the start of high school. Her transition from ninth to tenth grade was a little difficult when she realized she had to ignore some of her friends and peers in order to achieve.

"I never really believed people would want you not to succeed," she said. "I wanted to sign up for AP classes, but my friends were saying ‘No, don't take it. Stay in the regular classes.' But I wanted to challenge myself."

She soon found a new set of voices that would help her succeed, including Jones.

"Having friends around you who are supportive" is the key to balancing academics, activities and life, she said. "You can't do it by yourself. You have to have people there to help you."


Jordyn Jones, Salutatorian

Jordyn Jones is heading to Georgia State University in the fall to major in business and eventually become a corporate lawyer.

"Well my mom always said I like to talk, so I should be a lawyer," Jones said. "I always knew government and social studies interested me. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. After researching the different types of law, I decided on corporate."

Her favorite class in high school was AP language and composition with Chris Mays at Rockdale Career Academy.

"It was a difficult class... But because it was so hard and because he pushed us so much, when I got an A in that class, I felt so accomplished," said Jones. "The dual enrollment classes I take now are nothing compared to his classes."

The 18-year-old took four AP classes and three dual enrollment classes. She received an RCA scholarship, was a Governor's Honors finalist, recognized by UGA as the top five percent of her class, and on the Superintendent's Award list, as one of the top ten students in the class, for three years.

For extracurriculars, she was the editor-in-chief of the yearbook and selected as that club's Tempus Fugit member, or the embodiment of what that RCHS club represents.

Jones, daughter of Monica Harvey-Jones and Larry Jones and older sister to rising sophomore Cydney Jones, came to Rockdale in the fifth grade and attended Shoal Creek Elementary and Davis Middle School. Her father was in the Navy so the family moved quite a bit before settling down in Conyers.