SAISD continues our celebration of the Class of 2022 countdown to cap and gown, by introducing our twin valedictorians and salutatorians from Central High School and Lake View High School. In a unique final ranking outcome, both SAISD high schools will have fraternal twin sisters taking the first and second top spots in their respective graduating classes.
For Central High School - Meet the Barker Twins
Gracie Barker, is the valedictorian for CHS, and Ellie Barker, the salutatorian.
“We’ve been competing against each other for a long time, healthy competition, not like sabotage-each-other competition,” said Gracie. “...We've always pushed each other to do better. We never really thought about it as an option that we would work hard.”
The girls said a running family joke is that one of the girls will often be the first to do something, and then the other will improve upon it- like in taking first steps as a child, one was first to do it, then the other went further, and when one lost a tooth first, then the other lost two teeth in one week.
Gracie recently won the state title in UIL Ready Writing for 6A, and is active in speech and debate, which she attributes to helping her to be a more effective communicator. Ellie is a Lady Cat varsity soccer player who is self-described as very organized, type A personality and interested in health and fitness. The girls share a commitment to hard work in their studies, but do note differences in how they approach studies and what they’re passionate about.
“She’s more very-organized. I’m more go with the flow. She’s more sports oriented, and I really care more about social justice issues. I’m a debater, so I work really hard at being an effective communicator,” said Gracie “She gets on the field, and that’s how she works out her aggression and I just talk - a lot [in debate].”
After graduating, the girls will head to rival Texas colleges. Gracie will attend the University of Texas at Austin, and major in political communication. She plans to attend law school after undergrad, and may one day be an environmental lawyer. Ellie will head to College Station, Texas, to attend Texas A&M University where she will major in biomedical engineering. She likes dual options for that major to pursue medical school and be a doctor or, alternatively, stick to engineering like working in prosthetics.
On Saturday, the twins will take the graduation stage, and co-deliver a speech, a moment they’ve been preparing for and are happy to be doing together.
“I think it’s super special to be sharing this with Gracie… It’s super special for our parents, especially, because they’re so proud of all our accomplishments and that we get to do this together,” said Ellie.
For Lake View High School - Meet the Williams Twins
Landy Williams, is the valedictorian for LVHS, and Lexie Williams, the salutatorian.
Landy had this to say on their final top rankings, “Being one and two together is really cool. Having a big accomplishment like this to share is unbelievable.”
Landy was a leader in the Chief band, and participated in sports including basketball, which she attributes to developing skills like leadership, collaboration and teamwork, and time management. Lexie was also a leader in LVHS band, and played sports like basketball and softball too, and noted both band and sports impacted her high school experience positively.
When asked what she will miss most about Lake View, Landy said, “I will miss all the activity and involvement, like sports and band. I’ll also miss all the teachers and the community - even though we’re a 4A, it feels like a small 2-3A. Everybody knows you and makes sure to say hi.”
Landy will attend Texas A&M University where she will major in nutrition, and be in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie band as an alto saxophonist. She plans to be a sports nutritionist. Lexie will attend Abilene Christian University, and major in education and math. She plans to be a high school math teacher.
“Ever since I was little, I loved helping others. It's just been a dream of mine to become a teacher. I’ve loved all my teachers, and they’ve helped me so much. I want to do that for others,” said Lexie, later pointing to her 5th grade teacher at Holiman Elementary, Ms. Nestler, as an inspiration who helped her to discover her love for math.
The girls said they will miss the little things they do together when they head to their different colleges in the fall, from sports and school to family time at home like watching movies and walking their family dog. And, although being a twin can have its positives and negatives, Lexie said one aspect she loves is the close relationship, “You have an automatic best friend when you have a twin. They’re always there for you.” And like a true best friend, she already has plans to join her parents on a trip to visit College Station for an Aggie home football game to watch sister Landy on her first step off with the Aggie Band.
Join SAISD, CHS and LVHS in congratulating our twin valedictorians and salutatorians, and wishing them success as they continue pursuit of their hopes and dreams next fall at UT, A&M and ACU. Follow the San Angelo ISD Facebook, Twitter, and website, www.saisd.org, to see more ways we celebrate our Class of 2022 future-ready graduates, and to stay up-to-date on San Angelo ISD. Community members are encouraged to share how you celebrate your graduates all week long as part of our countdown to cap and gown in advance of the Class of 2022 graduation ceremonies with the hashtag #SAISDGrads22 and #FutureReadyatSAISD. We look forward to celebrating our SAISD Class of 2022 graduates, and their achievements for this important milestone and stepping off point toward further fulfillment of their hopes and dreams.