For the first time in Maranatha High School’s history, twin sisters, Sara and Samantha Wu, were named Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively. The accomplished and talented young ladies are separated by only minutes in age, and a mere one one-hundredth of a point in their grade point average.
"I’m older by two minutes, but Samantha is taller," shared Sara Wu, Maranatha High School’s Valedictorian. “We are very close,” Sara added, “Although we're both pretty competitive, our goal has never been to ‘outdo’ the other. Rather, our goal is always to support each other. We are very different people who have different strengths, passions, and paths, and it's okay that we're not the same. We trust that God will give us the specific skills, credentials, and resources necessary to pursue our individual paths. “
Sara and her sister, Samantha, Maranatha’s Salutatorian, were recently honored for their accomplishments in the school’s virtual Commencement Ceremony. Sara graduated with a 4.74 GPA, while Samantha achieved a 4.73.
In addition to taking a rigorous course load, including multiple Advanced Placement classes, the twins were involved in many extracurricular activities, including Science Club, Science Olympiad, Science Bowl, SeaPerch, National Honors Society, California Scholarship Federation, Ministry Team, LIGHT Club, Ambassador Club, volleyball, and basketball.
Sara and Samantha didn’t set out to achieve the lofty academic titles of Valedictorian and Salutatorian, but are extremely honored they were ranked as the top 2 of their graduating class. Samantha shared, “During freshman year, I had no plans to rank top of the class. I was simply trying to do my best in the classes in which I was placed. After Sara and I tied for the highest GPA later that year, we realized that we could keep up our workload of 5-6 honors classes and do well in them, so we decided to do that. Personally, I had no plans to become Salutatorian -- it just worked out from the AP classes that I wanted to take.”
It is a rarity that a high school’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian are twins, and both Sara and Samantha are great representatives of Maranatha High School. They are hard workers who took advantage of and achieved every opportunity Maranatha had to offer. Sara commented, “I was definitely excited and honored when I found out that we had earned the Valedictorian and Salutatorian titles. For any student who wants to achieve being at the top of their class, I would recommend taking as many honors/AP classes as you can handle, do your best on every assignment, ask questions when you don't understand something, and cultivate honest and supportive relationships with your teachers. But the most important piece of advice I have is to seek God BEFORE seeking academic success, and everything will work out the way it needs to. From many personal experiences, I've learned that it is so much better to do things God's way rather than my way.”
Samantha added, “It's always good to find others who you can grow academically and socially with, and it's important to know that it's okay to take a break from your studies sometimes. That being said, I'd definitely recommend a healthy portion of honors and AP classes, balanced with some fun classes or free periods. I would also say that an important key to success is to build others up rather than trying to tear people down in order to reach the top.”
Sara and Samantha will both attend the University of Southern California (USC). Sara will be studying at USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, majoring in Human Development and Aging, while Samantha will be studying at USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences as a Biochemistry major in the Freshman Science Honors Program. Maranatha High School is honored to have the Wu sisters as part of their family of alumni and cannot wait to see what they accomplish in the future!