Volleyball just a small part of Columbus senior Chandler Barre's busy day

Columbus High senior will focus on academicsin college

September 26, 2012 

Columbus High senior will focus on academicsin college



Talk to Columbus High volleyball player Chandler Barre for a few minutes, and you might understand what it means to be busy.

Still months from her high school graduation, the strong-minded senior performs a juggling act that could put Barnum & Bailey out of business.

There's school, where she takes four advanced placement classes, bringing her total to eight over the course of her high school career. She's in the National Honors Society and National English Honors Society, and is

vice president of the National Latin Honors Society and president of the National Science Honors Society.

Add Beta Club and captaining the Envirathon team to the list.

Last summer, she participated in the Governor's Honors Program for environmental science at Valdosta State and an economics forum at Vanderbilt University.

Oh, and there's volleyball, where she has recorded 197 kills in 38 matches this season. She has played two years of varsity, overall.

She's always involved in something. Asked if she ever has time to take a break for lunch and dinner, her eyes lit up and she explained the 2,400-calorie diet she had committed to for a class project.


"I have to be doing something," Barre said about her personality. "I'm kind of a perfectionist. It freaks me out when I don't have anything done. When I have work, I have to do it right away."

It's a good trait to have for someone as involved as she is and who has such high aspirations.

While many student-athletes hope that sports can be an avenue to a full college scholarship, Barre has her focus on academics.

She is in the top 5 percent academically at Columbus and hopes for a full academic scholarship to Vanderbilt. And if it isn't Vanderbilt, she'll consider George Washington University and the University of British Columbia.

"And, of course, Georgia Tech is a backup," she said with a laugh.

Any of the four would be good for her intended field, either industrial engineering or neuroscience. She became interested in the latter simply by reading her sister's college roommate's textbooks.

"It's fascinating to me," she said about the subject. "I just love to see that other people have different perceptions of the world other than mine. One question that intrigues me is that how do I know that the color blue I see is the same that you do? There's no proof that what I see is what you see.

"In your life, the different experiences you go through shape your different perceptions of the world."

It's an incredibly advanced understanding of society, something most people begin to understand once they reach the so-called "real world."

She's been able to apply this understanding to her life in many ways, including on the volleyball court.

At an economics forum at Vanderbilt, she said, she learned a lot about servant leadership, something she's taken back to her role on Columbus' team.

One example she gave was an exercise she participated in at the forum where individuals would close their eyes, and others would tap the shoulders of those that had given to them in their lives.

"I remember what it felt like to have my shoulder touched and know that I had done something. I loved that feeling, so I remembered that on the court when someone makes a mistake, you just grab their hand and tell them it'll be fine," she said. "I just remember those things and try to extend them to the rest of the players."

It's paid off with her teammates.

Fellow seniors LeighEllen McCormick and Mikayla Swinson, also leaders on the court, pointed to Barre's positive attitude and determination as great characteristics for the team.

"She's always leading in warm-ups and pushing to the team in practice," McCormick said.

"She's consistent and makes good decisions," Swinson added.

Coach Donna Fleming had similar things to say about Barre, noting how unusual it was to have an individual quite like her.

"She's smart, hardworking and knows how to manage her time," she said. "She was gone, missed volleyball during the summer, but came back on Aug. 1 without having missed a beat.

"It's very unusual to have players like that who are so top-notch in everything they do."

And while she may make it look easy, it's quite the opposite.

"There's never a down moment," Fleming said.

Barre had to make the difficult decision about whether to try to continue playing volleyball past high school, but when it came down to it, she chose academics.

"It was really hard, but I knew my academic aspirations were much higher than those in volleyball," she said.

One thing she hasn't accomplished in high school, however, is winning a state volleyball championship, and that will be her focus for now.

"That would be a great way to go out," she said.

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571

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