KFHS valedictorian hopes to be surgeon

Published 8:19 pm Monday, June 5, 2017

Editor’s Note: This is the first in the Suffolk News-Herald’s annual series of stories on the valedictorians at Suffolk’s five high schools.

Nadim Barakat didn’t plan on being valedictorian and was a little surprised when he found out that things had worked out that way.

“I was flattered, but I didn’t go into high school with the goal of being valedictorian,” said the senior, who finished school with a 4.58 grade point average.

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One of his first thoughts upon learning of his ranking was that he now needed to think about giving a speech at graduation.

“Hopefully, I’ll think of something,” he said.

Barakat attended King’s Fork High School all four years and was a part of the International Baccalaureate program. He said his favorite class was biology, which makes his future career unsurprising.

“I’d like to be a surgeon,” he said.

He plans to attend the University of Virginia and major in biology on a pre-med track.

He initially didn’t know what area of biological science he would like to go into, but shadowing various scientists and doctors helped him figure it out.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to become involved in research or be a doctor and help people directly,” he said. But through volunteering at Sentara Obici Hospital, he learned more about himself and his future career. That’s when he learned he wants to be a doctor.

“I get to interact with people more, and it’s not as closed off,” he said. Volunteering at the hospital, “You spend time with a lot of people, and they have stories to tell you. There are always some funny ones.”

He’s not sure yet what surgery specialty he will enter. All of the surgeons has he talked to have told him to “go in with an open head,” he said.

While he wasn’t doing schoolwork in high school, Barakat was playing soccer, which he enjoyed.

“It helped me release some stress from all the school work,” he said. He hopes to continue soccer on an intramural basis at U.Va.

He also participated in National Honor Society and enjoyed the community service activities. In addition, he tutored other students, which he says helped him just as much as those under his tutelage.

“It helps me to reinforce the knowledge I already have,” he said.