Freshman Heydt goes above and beyond in academics


Courtesy of Stephanie Heydt

While traveling Heydt stays on top of his studies, while also enjoying the sights of San Francisco from a street car.

Hannah Silver

Everyday freshman Charles Heydt wakes up prepared to seize the day. He gets ready for school, gets on the bus and heads off for an adventurous day of learning.

Heydt is taking three Advanced Placement classes as a freshman, including AP Human Geography, AP Statistics and AP Calculus AB. On top of his challenging course load, which is foreign to many freshmen, Heydt is also taking the traditional ninth grade core classes.

“Charles was always interested in pursuing knowledge from a young age,” Heydt’s mother, Stephanie Heydt, said. “If something triggered his interest he would dive in and learn about it.”

Heydt’s friends and family see how he displays generous amounts of academic knowledge and strives to learn.

“I’m taking nine classes in total, two of which are online, Calculus AB and Chemistry,” Charles Heydt said. “My favorite subject to learn is either math or chemistry, and my favorite class is AP Statistics.” 

Heydt has been able to impress many with his academic talents and drive to learn.

“Charles has an incredible wealth of knowledge, more than most students I have ever taught,” Christopher Wharton, Heydt’s AP Human Geography teacher, said. “He puts a lot of effort into learning as much as he can about anything and everything. He pushes himself to excel and achieve and does things that are almost unheard of for a freshman in high school.”

Wharton has been working at Midtown for seven years, and has been coaching Quiz Bowl for one. Heydt is on the Quiz Bowl team and has been working with Wharton to advance his skills.

“When it comes to Quiz Bowl, Charles really doesn’t have a weakness.” Wharton said. “He has a great depth of knowledge and is pretty good at responding quickly which can really help in tournaments.”

Heydt enjoys the challenge Quiz Bowl gives him.

“I joined the Quiz Bowl club in sixth grade because I thought it would be interesting,” Heydt said. “I had done Geography Bee before and I realized that I could really start to become quite good at it.” 

In eighth grade, Heydt was nationally recognized as one of the best middle school Quiz Bowl players in the United States. 

“I went to the 2021 middle school national tournament and our team got fifth place overall, and I placed second individually,” Heydt said. 

High school is a big transition for most students, and Heydt was fortunate to have teachers like Wharton and Vicki Vinson, Heydt’s AP Statistics teacher, to help guide him through his unique process.

“Going into high school, Mr. Wharton and Ms. Vinson have truly eased my ninth-grade experience and made me feel comfortable and prepared,” Heydt said.

Not only does Heydt have the support of his teachers, but also his friends and family. 

“My dad is my biggest inspiration, he has really been there for me through this whole process, and he’s the reason I have been able to grow and develop as much as I have,” Heydt said. “I have a great family, amazing friends, and I love socializing whenever I can find the time.”

Heydt’s close friend, David Baker, admires Heydt for all he is as a person.

“Charles is a very good friend,” Baker said. “He’s a very caring and considerate person, and he’s a joker but he’ll always be there for you. His mix of brilliance, knowledge, and also his social life and participation makes him a truly well-rounded person. He is one of the smartest people I know, grown-ups included.”

Over the years, Heydt’s family and friends have seen him flourish and find what interests him.

“Throughout the course of the pandemic, I think Charles got a lot of clarity about the things he really cared about, and that has made a big difference for him,” Heydt’s father, Colin Heydt said. “Charles is a hard worker and has become really curious.”

Heydt has challenged himself starting at a young age.

“In fourth grade, Charles went to the Georgia State Geography Bee and was competing with people as old as eighth grade and had no fear,” Stephanie Heydt said. “He was fierce, confident and I was super proud of him at that moment in time. I have never stopped being proud.”

Learning comes with its setbacks, but Heydt doesn’t let that stop him.

“If you’re trying to learn things that are difficult, failure is an intrinsic part of that, and you have to learn to be comfortable with it, which Charles is,” Colin Heydt said. “People will respond to setbacks by giving up, but that’s not Charles, he’s very good at responding to a challenge.”

While academics are very important to Heydt, he also finds time for his social life.

“My favorite part of high school so far has been how social life is less inductive of stress, and I am able to be myself and do what I want without anyone else seeming to care,” Heydt said.

Heydt enjoys spending time one on one with his dad where they are able to bond over knowledge.

“I love going on walks with him at night and asking him about what he learned that day, and he’ll tell me about something he studied in multivariable calculus or chemistry or physics,” Colin Heydt said. “Of course, I love him as my son, but I also enjoy just hearing what he’s thinking about.”

Heydt has found new ways to challenge himself intellectually.

“For me as a mother it’s been really exciting to see his intellectual curiosity explode,” Stephanie Heydt said. “He is such an incredible worker, and seems to love the pursuit of going from one question to the next. He is an incredibly sweet person, I love watching him connect with me and my husband, as well as his brother and sister. He is truly fun to be around and truly an emotionally connected person.”

Heydt still finds time to be a normal kid, but also knows how to have the right balance of his academics.

“Charles in a lot of other ways, is like other kids,” Wharton said. “He likes to goof off and be with friends, but in other ways, his drive and his desire for achievement is a bit beyond what you see in a typical ninth-grader.”

Heydt’s mother is very proud of her son, and hopes he will be able to appreciate all that he has accomplished.

“Most importantly I hope he can acknowledge all that he has done, and where he is going and just be proud of himself,” Stephanie Heydt said. 

High school is challenging but Heydt is setting himself up for success.

“Don’t let what you think other people want you to do influence your decisions, do what is best for you, and will make you happy,” Heydt said. “At the end of high school, I would like to have taken a challenging course load, taken some dual enrollment courses, and be valedictorian. I know my limits and what I need to do in order to achieve my goals.”