Barnett is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Teen, writing articles about pop culture, classic literature and Christmas.
Billing itself as "the premier destination for teens who want a safe place to talk about what's really happening in their lives – socially, academically, culturally," the site is an arm of The Huffington Post, a Pulitzer Prize-winning online aggregator of news and opinion.
"I followed Huffington Post Teen on Twitter for a while, and one day I clicked on a link that showed how to get involved with them. It wasn't very hard," he said.
Barnett had been writing a personal blog, and he sometimes shared his entries on Facebook, but his thoughts are available to a much wider audience since his first Huffington Post Teen post in October.
That post compared and contrasted the character Pip in Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" to pop singing icon Miley Cyrus.
"I feel like many of the people that idolized Miley never wondered if she actually wanted to be an idol. This is the point in the story where she relates to Pip. Society played the role of Mrs. Havisham: instead of telling Miley she was common, however, we told her she was an inspiration and a role model," Barnett wrote.
Everybody knows about Miley Cyrus, so I wrote just kind of analyzing her," he said. "It gave me a creative outlet, and people are more interested in reading about things they know and like."
His English teacher, Michael Phillips, wouldn't accept the blog post as a class assignment on "Great Expectations," though, so he had to write a separate essay for that.
Barnett said his mother is also a blogger, and she inspired him to raise the level of his writing.
"When my grandmother died, my Mom wrote a blog post about her, and it moved a lot of people," he explained.
He was inspired to write a funny story about his grandmother's frustration at his refusal to comply with her long-standing request to record some of his piano music, and how the memory of her calling him a dirty name on the answering machine brings a smile and warm memories.
"People still tell me that made them so happy," he said. "It was a nice realization that I could make people happy in a way that makes me happy too."
He said he loves getting comments and feedback on his work, and was thrilled when actor Chord Overstreet of "Glee" shared his article about the TV show on Twitter, getting Barnett's link more than 500 shares.
He wrote about why "Glee" is the best TV show for teens.
"I don’t want to do a major overload about pop culture," he said. "There are a lot of bloggers at Huffington Post and we stay connected through Twitter. I try to challenge myself to not write about what everybody else is writing about."
Barnett said the idea for his most recent post, about how Christmas should be shared with everyone regardless of their religious beliefs, hit him during calculus class.
"One of the fundamentals of Christianity is that we must share Christ with others who don't believe in him because Christ is available to everyone. So why should Christian believers, Christian believers only, have a monopoly on Christmas? We absolutely should not," he wrote.
That day in calculus, "I quit listening and started writing. Sometimes you need to write and get it out," he said. "But it didn't help me the next day on the calculus test."
His grades probably didn't suffer too badly. Barnett said he has already received scholarship offers from Auburn University and Tulane University, and he's also applying to Columbia and Vanderbilt.
"I always write with pen and paper. I have some free time at school. There are computers in every classroom, but pen and paper takes longer, so my thoughts are more organized by the time I write them down."
Several of his tweets have been included in Huffington Post Teen's "Best tweets of the week."
Those include, "I know that raw cookie dough is unhealthy but every time I see a pack in the refrigerator I think that salmonella would be a great way to go," and "Being late to school is always more interesting when your dad teaches your first class of the day."
Both of Barnett's parents are teachers at Childersburg High.
Barnett is also editor of Tiger Tracks, the Childersburg High School yearbook, and is excited about some innovative ideas the staff is working on with journalism teacher Ashley Kean.
His profile on Huffington Post Teen says he'd like to be a lawyer or journalist, but Barnett is in no hurry to decide.
"I understand the range of careers, but I know I'll have to go to graduate school. It's too early to focus right now. I'd rather worry about what I like rather than shooting for one particular goal."
He enjoys participating in theater at school, and he's passionate about playing the piano. He said he started taking lessons when he was 5 or 6 years old, and he has played at his church, Bradford United Methodist Church in Kellyton, since August.
Here's the link to Barnett's HPT profile:
Contact Bill Kimber at firstname.lastname@example.org.