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Close, but not competitive

When it comes to writing those all-important commencement speeches, Natalie Wells and Kathryn Diaz plan on collaborating.

"We're so similar we're afraid we'll be saying the same thing," Kathryn said.

No doubt.

There's some good history for Wesley Chapel High's valedictorian and salutatorian. The two have known each other since fourth grade, when they were first brought together for a play date because their older brothers were hanging out. Both figure they've been best friends since sixth grade at Weightman Middle School.

Now, as soon-to-be graduates, they're the kind pals who finish each other's sentences and spend days on end with each other. There's that shared goofy sense of humor that often has others just shaking their heads and calling them "Lucy and Ethel."

There's also a left brain/right brain kind of opposites-attract thing going on. Natalie's into math and science. For Kathryn, it's writing and literature.

"We know each others idiosyncrasies — she knows all my weird habits," Kathryn said. "I practically live at her house. The dog doesn't even bark at me when I come over. It's been really great because we don't have a competitive friendship. We're just very supportive of each other."

In fact, when they found out each was in the running for class valedictorian, Natalie said, "We were like, 'Come on, I know you can do this — come on, come on!' "

Come August, the two will attend the University of Florida as freshmen. "We're planning on rooming together," Natalie said. "We'll definitely be together. We don't know if we're going to get our place of choice, but we'll definitely be together."

"Basically that is all that matters," Kathryn said. "I would rather live with her in an alley than without her in the Hume honors dorm with all the honors kids."

Wesley Chapel High School valedictorian: Natalie Wells

GPA: 4.45

Future school: University of Florida

Ideal career: Host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption.

Most inspirational person/people: My family, because they never cease to amaze me.

Best advice/quote: "When life kicks you, let it kick you forward." — Kay Yow

Favorite book: Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling.

Favorite place on campus: The commons area because I can socialize.

Clubs/extracurriculars: Varsity girls golf team, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta.

What would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system: Exam exemptions for good grades and good attendance.

Wesley Chapel High School salutatorian: Kathryn Diaz

GPA: 4.43 weighted

Future school: Undecided, most likely the University of Florida.

Major: political science

Ideal career: prosecuting attorney

Most inspirational person/people: My parents, who have made the "American Dream" a reality, raised three independent thinking kids, truly appreciate life and have been a huge support system.

Best advice/quote: "If you can't decide if the glass is half full or half empty, chug and refill it." — My dad

Favorite book: The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand.

Favorite place on campus: The cafeteria! It's the ideal place to unwind, socialize and catch up on last-minute homework.

Clubs/extracurriculars: National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society.

What would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system? More senior privileges; exam exemptions based on attendance.

Close, but not competitive 04/29/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 12:45pm]
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