Fraternal Twins Take Home Top Honors

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For students at Ponce de Leon High School, Monday night was the end of a long journey together, but for the valedictorian and salutatorian, it's just another step of many shared experiences they're set to tackle.

Makala and Matthew Hicks, fraternal twins, say they're grateful for each other being able to challenge one another in their academics and sports.

"Sports was competitive, but academics, I knew she would always have the upper hand, so I settled for second best," said Matthew.

"If he got a better grade than me, I would be right there studying harder to make sure I got one better than him," Makala said laughing.

And that's how the sibling rivalry and partnership continued with each pushing the other as they captured the title while being dual enrolled in 3 different colleges, Chipola College, Northwest Florida State, and Gulf Coast State College.

Makala graduated with a 4.75 and Matthew with a 4.53. The news of their victory was a pleasant surprise for the duo's parents who also work as teachers in the local schools.

"When they called out Matthew's name as salutatorian, I kinda broke down crying in the classroom," said Donna Hicks.

"In front of 18 kindergartners," added her husband Tommy Hicks.

"And when they called out Makala's name I cried out a little hard and I actually just kinda laid my head on my desk," Donna continued.

Despite the sibling rivalry, the two say they helped each other out as much as they could, "If one didn't get it, usually between the two of us, we got everything," said Matthew.

Both of the Hicks siblings say they plan to continue their education at Chipola College with Makala studying elementary education and Matthew studying business management.

In addition to graduating Monday night, Makala graduated from Chipola College with her AA in May, with Matthew only 6 hours behind from getting his.

The duo was awarded a total of near $35,000 in scholarships in Friday's award ceremony at the school.