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Academic success stays in the family

Published Oct. 13, 2005

They call them the Wonder Twins. Two Central High seniors born 20 minutes apart 17 years ago.

The same two Central High seniors voted Most Likely to Succeed by their fellow classmates.

"People group us together," said Lee Amento.

"But people who really know us realize we're two different sides of the same coin," said his sister, Lynn.

Lee wants a career in medicine. Lynn plans to study advertising.

He was president of the Hi-IQ team. She was assistant Yearbook editor.

Both play tennis and were senior class representatives. Both will go to the University of Florida.

A friend says they were chosen Most Likely to Succeed because they are "the best known "Smart Kids' at Central High."

"It's a compliment," Lynn said.

But what does it mean?

"I know a lot of people would say it means to make a lot of money," Lee said.

"But to me it means to never regret anything," Lee said. "I hear so many people say that they do, especially older people."

Like Central High, the two are newcomers to the county. They moved here from Pittsburgh at the beginning of their junior year.

"We don't take things lightly 'cause we want to succeed," said Lynn. When they first arrived in Hernando County in the summer of 1989, they would go places together because they didn't know anyone else.

"People thought we were a couple when we got here. We didn't know anyone so we walked around a lot," Lee said.

Lynn suffered the most at first, her brother said, seriously missing her life back north.

"I sort of missed my friends," she concedes.

But she took a sudden liking to Hernando county _ and its weather _ when she returned for her first visit to Pittsburgh.

"The day we went, it was the worst day to go. It was Christmas of 1989, and it was a blizzard. . . . Also, I found out a lot of people here came from the same places we have lived."

Because their father, who is a fashion designer, works out of his home, the family can live just about anywhere. Harrisonburg, Va., Long Island, New York, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Lee and Lynn are fraternal twins, and do not resemble one another any more than any other brother and sister. Lynn said she thinks of Lee more as a brother, anyway, than a twin.

But not an older brother.

Although most people think Lee _ because he is 6-feet tall to Lynn's 5-foot-5 _ is the elder sibling, Lynn says she arrived a full 20 minutes before her brother on July 27, 1973.

Lynn has a strong entrepreneurial streak, and eventually wants to run her own advertising agency, one that pays special attention to the image of women in the mass media.

"I want to be more honest. I don't want to sell people things they don't need," she said.

Lee says he likes the fact that his sister never feels compelled, like some girls he knows, to act less intelligent than she is so boys will like her and not feel intimidated.

"What I admire about Lynn is that she never acts dumb," he said.

Lee is set on becoming a doctor, and until recently had been planning to specialize in psychiatry. But the subject is changing so rapidly due to advances in drug therapy that he said he may change his mind.

"They say that by the time I get out (of medical school), the field will be completely different," Lee said.

College shouldn't be that big a surprise for either Lynn or Lee. Both were dual-enrolled students this year and took several college-level courses.

Both are expected to continue their version of success.