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Childhood friends take top honors at Victoria East

By KBell
May 29, 2012 at 12:29 a.m.

East High School valedictorian Esther Shu and salutatorian Deborah Lin enjoy a break at the end of the semester in the school's library. Both students will be roommates at the University of Texas, continuing their friendship.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Victoria East High School graduation

WHERE: Memorial Stadium

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

One thing she learned from competitive swimming was to never look around to see where the competition was.

That's the philosophy Deborah Lin adopted when it came to getting good grades and rising to the top of her class. It just so happened, when she did look up, her childhood friend was right beside her.

Deborah is this year's salutatorian at Victoria East High School. Her friend, Esther Shu, is the valedictorian.

"She helped me a lot with my homework. I sucked at English," Esther said with a laugh.

"She does not suck," Deborah was quick to chime in.

The two top grads share a rapport that stems from a young age, when both sets of their Taiwanese parents moved to Victoria from New Jersey. They became family friends, and on Saturday they'll celebrate their daughters' honors at graduation.

Esther calls herself a band geek, while Deborah labels herself a debate nerd. They both have 4.0 grade point averages, but are a hundredth of a point apart.

Throughout high school, they weren't competing against each other or their classmates, the girls said. They just did their work and took the Advanced Placement classes that would prepare them for college.

They both say the other is loyal and fun, qualities that should come in handy in the fall, when they go to the University of Texas. They'll be roommates, of course.

"I think she's the only person I've been able to get into arguments with," Esther jokes about the depth of their friendship.

They said their favorite part about going to college will be the lectures.

"I sound so lame," Deborah quipped.

The valedictorian will study pharmacy, while the salutatorian will study pre-med and English.

Esther said she'll probably end up sobbing the first month of college because she'll miss her parents in Victoria.

Deborah is the more naturally independent one, so it will be easier for her to settle into a new environment, she said. They'll help each other out in the next stage, just as they did through high school.

But there's at least one part of Victoria that Deborah said she'll miss the most.

"My Mom's food," she said.

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