Freedom High School twins graduating as valedictorian, salutatorian
They were born two minutes apart and helped each other with schoolwork along the way the past several years.
They didn’t do a lot of fighting and quarreling, unusual for siblings, except for that one random biting incident when they were little.
Now in a little more than a week, they will be sharing the stage as the top two graduates from Freedom High School.
Meet Sarah and Samantha Seto — twin valedictorian and salutatorian, the best of the best from the class of 427 graduates from the New Tampa school.
“They want the best for each other,” says Jamie Dowd, college and career counselor at Freedom. “There haven’t been any hard feelings from one or the other.”
Sarah Seto was born first on May 22, 1995, in San Antonio, Texas — two minutes ahead of her sister.
When the final calculations were done for grade point averages at Freedom, Sarah ended up first again — just less than 0.20 ahead of her sister for the valedictorian title.
Their father, Ed Seto, says he didn’t realize the two were at the top of the class. “I was actually a little surprised,” he says.
That’s because, according to the father, he and his wife, Deborah, have always stressed that the two need to worry more about absorbing knowledge than worrying about their class ranking.
“The most important thing is the learning,” Ed Seto says. “They never focused on being No. 1 and No. 2.”
Sarah is the more outspoken one, while Samantha tends to be on the quiet side. Sarah loves to express herself with dance, while Samantha uses words and writing.
“They have very different personalities and different interests,” their father says. “But in terms of school, they are very persistent, they never want to miss a day of school, they work very hard.”
Sarah loves science and dislikes English — with no disrespect meant to any English teacher she might have had there.
Samantha loves English and dislikes math.
They have similar musical interests — Adele and Florence and the Machine, to name a couple — and like to eat the same things — pasta, spaghetti, noodles.
When it comes to college, however, they will be going their separate ways. Sarah will be attending Johns Hopkins University to perhaps study neuroscience, while Samantha heads for Wake Forest University to study writing or liberal arts.
“I’m going to miss Sarah,” Samantha says.
“I’m going to miss her a lot,” Sarah chimes in.
Despite being separated by distance during college, they can always pick up the phone to text or call one another should one need help with schoolwork.
After all, that’s what they have done all these years.
“We have always tried to help each other get where we are,” Sarah says. “We always studied together and tested each other so we both can succeed together.”