Barton succeeds in small classes

Published 9:56 pm Friday, June 1, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of stories about Suffolk’s five high school valedictorians. See all of the stories on

Brandi Barton, 17, has spent her entire academic career at Suffolk Christian Academy, and on Saturday she graduates as the school’s valedictorian.

“After the third quarter, we just kind of knew who it was,” Barton said. “It was kind of exciting.”


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Suffolk Christian isn’t a very large school, and Barton is one of eight students getting their diplomas on Saturday. Classes have always been small for Barton, and it’s something that she has enjoyed since kindergarten.

“You get to know the kids very quickly, and you know how to work with certain people,” Barton said. “Your relationships with them grow.”

Smaller classes meant she was able to get the attention she needed if she ever struggled.

“You get a lot of academic attention, and if you’re struggling you can go to the teachers and tell them,” she said. “You can have a closer relationship with them in the classroom.”

Barton’s senior year consisted of clubs, community service and a lot of hard work to keep her grades up. She was involved with the school’s Beta Club and Operation Smile.

Along with school work and other organizations, Barton has done mission work with her church, Nansemond River Baptist Church.

“There is a lot of work. Senior year is a big work load, but I made sure to take all the hard classes at the beginning of the year to make it easier towards the end of senior year,” she said.

Her best advice to being successful in school is simply to try your hardest.

“Keeping up and just trying hard at school is the way to do it,” Brandi said. “Do your best, because it doesn’t matter if you’re on the top or bottom. If you do your best, it will be the best in God’s eyes.”

While Barton does work hard, she also makes sure to use her time wisely when it comes to school work. Typically, she does the work the night it is assigned, so there isn’t a chance of her falling behind.

During high school, Brandi has been attending Tidewater Community College to get her associate degree in social sciences, and she will finish the associate degree in a year. Her plan will continue at her father’s alma mater, Old Dominion University, to get a degree in elementary education.

“I really like kids and they seem to like me, and I like to see when the light bulb clicks for kids,” Barton said.