Friendswood High has tie for salutatorian
Noah Kessler and Winston Wu are close friends with many common interests.
Both play piano.
Both like to study math and science.
And since the two are graduating from Friendswood High School with the exact same grade-point average, both have been named co-salutatorians.
"I think it's really neat," said Wu, 17.
The pair actually tied for third in class rankings, but the student with the second-highest GPA didn't qualify as salutatorian because she is graduating a year early. According to the school's rules, if two students have the same GPA, then the one who has taken the most Advanced Placement classes will be valedictorian or salutatorian.
As it turns out, Kessler and Wu took the same number of AP classes. With no further procedure for breaking a tie, they became co-salutatorians and each received the school's $500 salutatorian scholarship.
The two met in the second grade at Cline Elementary School. Through the years, each went to the other's birthday parties. Each has played piano since age 5 or 6, and they enjoyed playing together.
"Maybe I was a little better than he was," Wu said of their musical abilities. As far as academics, he said, "That's hard to say."
With similar interests, they bonded the past two years on frequent school trips to academic competitions, challenging each other in technology and foreign languages. Kessler's forte is Spanish, while Wu favors Latin.
"He also speaks quite a bit of Mandarin and Cantonese," Kessler, 18, said of his friend.
Both racked up many honors in University Interscholastic League competitions and other state and national contests.
Wu plans to major in computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.
"Every year, we go there for UIL (competition); so I get a chance to see the campus. That was a factor when I was deciding where to go. I'd certainly love to continue playing the piano. I would like to minor in music, but that is probably unlikely."
Kessler will attend the University of Houston, where his National Merit scholarship will pay for tuition, fees, room and board.
He'll pursue degrees in both biochemistry and computer science, with the goal of advancing in bioinformatics, which combines computer science and biology to further biomedical research.
"I know we're going to keep in touch," said Wu. "Email and texting make it easy even when you're several hundred miles away."
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