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MacArthur twins graduate #1 and #2 in senior class

There is a saying that twins often act alike. But the Garcia sisters at MacArthur Sr. High have taken this a step further. Deidra and Cinthya Garcia are the number one- and number two-ranked students of the Class of 2009, which will graduate on Saturday morning. The sisters got the official word earlier this month.

“It was a relief,” Deidra said. “If we didn’t get it, it would have been a shocker.” As juniors, the pair was told they were the top-ranked students. In December 2008, another ranking came out which showed they had maintained their ranking.

And news spread quickly. “Soon after the announcement came out,” Deidra said. “I got a text message from last year’s valedictorian at (Texas) A&M congratulating me.”

Cinthya, who was away on a band trip, said that she didn’t learn about it until two hours later. The sisters said that they never set out to be top-ranked, just to do well in school and hope for the best.

“When we were in ninth grade we really didn’t think about our rankings,” Deidra said. “Because all we saw were ninth graders. But when we got here (MacArthur Sr. High) we saw how important rankings were.”

“I just wanted to be in the top five,” Cinthya added. The sisters attributed their success to their work ethic, which they got from their parents.

“They always told us that education was a priority,” Deidra said. “They taught us that if you’re going to do something do it right.” She added that their parents had been active in their education from elementary school, either as volunteers at the school or attending every meeting.

When the rankings came out this month, the girls learned that their grade point average was separated by a margin of .0195. Cinthya said that actually her unweighted G.P.A. was higher, but when the classes they took were taken into account Deidra came out ahead.

While taking some of the same classes, the girls learned that each had their own strengths and weaknesses.

“I did better in English and Social Studies,” Cinthya said. “And she (Deidra) did better in Math and Science.”

The girls said that they never tried to compare themselves to each other, or turn their grades into a competition. “If we had been competing,” Deidra said. “It would have been a lot harder because we would stress out over each assignment. Then you miss the bigger picture.”

The girls said that they didn’t start getting stressed about grades until this month. “Since the school already knew the rankings we didn’t want to fall behind and disappoint anyone,” Deidra said.

After graduation, the twin Honor students will take similar professional paths. But then, just as in high school, the paths will separate.

Both intend to study biomedical science and attend medical school. Deidra said that she plans to specialize in cardiology while Cinthya’s specialty will be in neuroscience.

The girls will not have the chance to repeat the rare “1-2 punch” at the university level. While Deidra will stay local and become a UT Longhorn, Cinthya is leaving the Lone Star State for Johns Hopkins University.