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LAMBERTVILLE - The only thing that could have separated paternal twins Ivy and Ariel Haskins was a swimming pool, and the adolescent academic all-stars are glad it did.
Four years ago, a burning desire to swim competitively led a then-14-year-old Ivy Haskins to leave Bedford High School for the bluer depths of Monroe High through the county's school of choice program. She excelled not only athletically but academically.
Her twin sister, Ariel, stayed in Bedford and did the same. And in the next few weeks, in what may be a first locally, the two sisters will graduate at the top of their respective classes at the two largest high schools in Monroe County.
"It's a lot better now that we don't go to the same school. I liked going to school with my sister, because it's easier to have someone you know to talk to all the time," explained Ivy, who is exactly one minute older than Ariel. "But being a twin, you're constantly with the same person, so going to different schools let us be independent."
Ivy was named student of the week for this week at Monroe High School. She carries a 4.1 grade point average. The sisters will attend classes this fall at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where both will be going into the pre-med program. Ivy plans to be a general practitioner; Ariel a psychiatrist.
The two sisters said that being apart helped bring them closer together.
"We actually went to junior high together at Bedford," Ariel explained. "In high school, we had to live more independently. It also helped our relationship, because we grew a lot closer since we didn't go to the same high school. Our sisterly bond got a lot better."
The girls' father, Mark Haskins, said his daughters were "self-starters" who never had to be goaded into doing their homework - or anything else - for that matter. "I learned a long time ago to stay out of their way," he said.
Others top graduates:
Airport: Christopher Williams, valedictorian; AmyJo Hollister, salutatorian.
Bedford: Ariel Haskins, valedictorian; Ben Harmon, salutatorian.
Dundee: Bryan Crist, William Wilcox, Mandy Schultz, and Tina Toburen, co-valedictorians; David Schofield, salutatorian.
Ida: Jerran Orwig, valedictorian; Laura Dean, salutatorian.
Jefferson: Ryan Sontag, valedictorian; Siera Hammond, salutatorian.
Mason Consolidated: Melissa Cousino, Hilary Doe, Megan Lavoy, Matthew Longfield, Samantha McClain, Dustin Meisner, co-valedictorians; Chelsey Kasper, Rachel Tunison, co-salutatorians.
Monroe: (Graduates with 4.0 GPA or higher) Antwih Mikwonjilin, Bryan Bagnall, Mark Blancke, Michael Bohland, Joshua Bowman, Michael Comstock, Matthew Diamond, Tara Dobbs, Alex Efta, Rachel Finley, Randee Garrett, Ivy Haskins, Seth Huff, John Hummel, Alexander Hunter, Andrew Jackel, Renee Kidd, Dennis Kountouris, Karen Miller, Megan Noland, Randahl Palmer, Matthew Pollzzie, Saqib Aveen, Craig Stanfill, Adrianne Stefanski, and Terra Teague.
Summerfield: Chad Cogan and Robin Dluzen, co-valedictorians; Aaron Osborn and Jessica Sieler, co-salutatorians.
Whiteford: Roseanne Papalcure, valedictorian; Benjamin Fielder, salutatorian.
Blissfield: Top eleven graduates: Asha Esterline, Jacob Goetz, Alisha Hall, Nicole Jensen, Emma Koppelman, Robert Love III, Heather Lucey, Melissa Mead, Betsy Schroeder, Ryan Terry, and Katy Tuckerman.
Deerfield: Jamie Krueger, valedictorian; Bryan Diver, salutatorian.
Madison: Jamie Ely, valedictorian; Rosanna Green, Kayse Onweller, and Brittan Masters, co-salutatorians.
Maumee Valley Country Day: Jamie Wasielewski, of Erie, valedictorian.