ADPi’s Macey Barnes crowned Top of the Rock


Kara Haselton

For Barnes, the biggest factor of being named Top of the Rock was the community it assured her she had: “This role is representative of everyone who has pushed me in the past.” Moving forward, Barnes said she hopes for her position in this role to better direct her next steps.

Aubrey Smith, Reporter

When Macey Barnes first arrived at App State four years ago, she was an introvert who was not one to put herself out there. Now, Barnes stands with one of the largest recognized titles of the school: Top of the Rock recipient. 

The senior elementary education major was recently named App State’s 2021 Top of the Rock recipient. The Zeta Mu chapter of Alpha Delta Pi nominated Barnes, who serves as the vice president of operations for the sorority. She’s been a member of the sorority since her sophomore year. 

“The funny part is that I told myself I’d never join a sorority,” Barnes said. 

When she went through recruitment, Barnes said she felt like the girls in ADPi cared about her as a person. Barnes said she felt they pushed her to be better, and now they’re like family. The sorority took to Instagram to congratulate Barnes, and in the comments are dozens of heart emojis and supportive comments. 

“They’ve celebrated me in my smallest and largest victories, so going through this it was like all of them were posting it and, like, celebrating with me,” Barnes said. “And so that was really cool to have them all there with me.”

During the pandemic, Barnes worked on behalf of Alpha Delta Pi to frontline the creation of cookbooks based off of the sisters’ family recipes in place of the annual family cookout’s cancellation. The sorority sold the cookbooks and raised money for the Ronald McDonald House. (Kara Haselton)

This is the second year in a row that an ADPi member has won Top of the Rock, last year Alex LaRocca was crowned recipient. This year, ADPi nominated Barnes and chapter president Kelsey Sweatt. After going through a round of interviews, Barnes heard she made the homecoming court while sitting at dinner with her 8-year-old cousin, she said.

“It definitely was one of those things I didn’t expect,” Barnes said.

The process for Barnes was a “blast.” She enjoyed getting to meet new people, especially those on the homecoming court, she said.  

“I’ve never been so humbled and also honored by an opportunity, so it’s insane,” Barnes said. 

Barnes was born in Taylorsville but moved to Emerald Isle when she was in high school. For Barnes, attending App State allowed her to be close to her hometown again. 

“Coming to Boone was kind of my way of having Taylorsville still right there,” she said. “I still get to see my grandparents and my family that are down the road.”

Barnes said that in high school, she never had a dream school in mind. She realized she wanted to attend App State after she visited campus and met the students that were giving the tour, she said. 

“They felt like they were my friends, like they were just nice to me,” Barnes said. “And so I was like, that’s somewhere I want to be if there’s people like that on campus.”

Aside from ADPi, Barnes spent her time as a resident assistant in Mountaineer Hall during her sophomore and junior year. She first applied for the position because her mom told her to, but as she started going through the interviews, Barnes became excited and really hoped she would get it. 

Being an RA was one of Barnes’ favorite experiences because she got to learn from and get to know more people on campus, she said. 

Noah Hayes, a junior biology major, met Barnes last year at his floor’s first meeting, where she was his RA. Hayes said she always made it a point to say hello or say something encouraging when they ran into each other in the halls.

Macey Barnes stands for a portrait outside her apartment in Boone in her Top of the Rock regalia. An elementary education major, Barnes was nominated for Homecoming court on behalf of her sorority Alpha Delta Pi. The interview process for this position “was a blast,” Barnes said, “I got to meet a ton of new people.” (Kara Haselton)

“Macey amplifies what I believe this campus is all about and that is being one big community that helps each other and pushes us past our own limits,” Hayes wrote in an email. 

For Barnes, the App State community is something that has had a strong impact on her. The community in Mountaineer Hall, ADPi, even her freshman year residence hall have pushed her to where she is now, she said. 

“I always say that Boone is a place that loves back as equally as it is loved. I really am appreciative of everyone who’s supported me in this,” Barnes said. “They’ve reminded me of what it feels like to love and be loved.”

Carson Goins was an RA last year in Mountaineer Hall with Barnes. Goins said she is hard-working and brought a good energy to everything she did.

“She is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met,” said Goins, exercise science and nutrition and foods double major. 

For Goins, working with Barnes made the RA experience “way better.” 

“Any time we got to work on something together, I looked forward to it,” Goins said. 

Although Barnes started college as a nursing major, she’ll graduate with a degree in elementary education. Barnes had always been told she was good with kids, and she switched over to elementary education when she realized it was her “calling.” She’s currently student teaching in Moravian Falls, which has been an “eye-opening” experience for Barnes.

Being in a classroom with students has been fun for her, she said. She’s even been carrying around a pencil gripper that one of her students gave her for a few days now. 

“I like the idea of being able to give those kids a safe spot in the classroom,” Barnes said. “And make them know that they’re valued and important.” 

For Barnes, winning Top of the Rock is “just the starting point of what’s next.” In the future, Barnes said she hopes she’s still pushing herself to step outside of her comfort zone.

“In five years, I’d definitely like to see myself still pushing myself into things that I’m not used to or try new things,” Barnes said. “Especially being that teacher to the class and reminding them that they’re valid and special in my classroom.”