Valedictorians usually stand alone, but Lindblom Math and Science Academy high school has two, and they just so happen to be identical twin sisters Tyra and Tia Smith.
According to Good Morning America, on Saturday, Courtesy Lemi-Ola Erinkitola Tia and Tyra Smith graduated from Lindblom Math and Science Academy in West Englewood, Illinois, with each maintaining a 4.0 GPA and taking 12 Advanced Placement courses.
Tyra told Good Morning America:
“I was glad it was both of us. We really worked together in order to be where we were. It was the last thing we could do together in school before we have to leave each other.”
It’s no secret that twin sisters worked hard for their achievements. They believe their successes to frequently attending office hours and communicating obstacles with their teachers.
The girls’ mother, Lemi-Ola Erinkitola, called the moment a ‘proud’ one.
“I was glad because they’re going to different colleges. And it put a nice, finishing touch on their years together academically. It was very emotional and goes beyond just the title. It was the fact they can share that platform together as sisters and a memory they will cherish throughout their journeys in life.”
Aside from their academic accomplishments, both were involved in the gallery club, where they collected art from fellow students to show at events. The girls also started “More Than 28” the first Black history art gallery of the high school.
The girls also share a love for crocheting and theater, both will major in theater in college, Tia said:
“Theater 1 has been the most rewarding and the most influential in shaping the person I am today.”
“At school, we also do student voice committee, last year we did academic decathlon.”
Moreover, the sisters were proud to create a community awareness campaign for kidney disease while they collaborated with health care company Baxter International.
At graduation, Tia and Tyra Smith delivered a combined speech to staff and their class of 295 students.
After graduation, Tyra is going to study theater and economics at Northwestern University while Tia is going to study theater and statistics at Duke University. Most notably, both have been awarded full scholarships. Tia said:
“We’re just people who like to learn a lot, so we focus most on the learning and I think that’s what’s more important. When you leave a school, you should actually learn something you can use for your future.”
Karen Fitzpatrick Carpenter, assistant principal of the school, said that the girls had achieved at the highest level offered by the school. Carpenter added:
“They have been dedicated since they entered the doors to our academic program. We only have all honors and AP classes, so for them to go this [far] is extraordinary.”
Both understand what career path they’ll take just yet, but they do understand what they want out of life. Tyra said:
“I know that I want to be happy.”
Tia listed her future objectives in her bullet journal, she shared:
“The first thing [is] write, draw and edit a comic book series. Second is direct at least one August Wilson play. [Then], own a theater, and make theater more accessible.”