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Twin brothers double up on top academic awards at North Babylon High

From left, Carlos and Bryan Sabogal, seniors at North Babylon High School, earned salutatorian and valedictorian honors, respectively. Credit: Newsday staff

The top two students in the North Babylon High School Class of 2020 represent a double dose of achievement.

Twins Bryan and Carlos Sabogal have been named valedictorian and salutatorian with just a sliver of a grade-point average separating the 18-year-olds.

“They are really self-starters and they push each other," said Kelley Bowman, the students' high school guidance counselor.

Bryan, the valedictorian, has a grade-point average of 101.49 and has taken 13 Advanced Placement courses. Carlos has a GPA of 101.33 and also has taken the same rigorous courses. What separated them was a slight score difference in 10th-grade AP chemistry. There are 327 seniors in the Class of 2020, school officials said.

Both students have participated in several extracurricular activities, belong to honor societies, are members of the marching band and have been named AP scholars with distinction. Each credits the other and their parents, Rita and Oscar, for their success. They are the youngest of five children.

“We have always been together and he has always pushed me and encouraged me,” Bryan said about Carlos.

"Definitely, Bryan," Carlos said. "Also, my parents, my mom and my dad — they tried to push us to do what we can do academically even before we entered school."

They have spent their entire school career in the North Babylon district. Both enjoy music: Bryan plays alto sax and Carlos the clarinet.

"They are so smart and so down-to-earth, and they credit each other," Bowman said. "They are very resourceful, and that comes through a lot. I can't speak highly enough of them — they are very kind and persevering and goal-oriented."

Bryan said the brothers are not competitive with one another. 

"I wouldn't say it was like that," he said. "It's that if I don't do well on an exam and Carlos did, there is no jealousy. Obviously, we ask each other for help."

The twins will attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Bryan plans to major in neuroscience or biomedical engineering and Carlos in psychology. They plan to be roommates. 

"I just remember thinking that is a really nice school for medicine," said Bryan, adding they were accepted on the same day.

They were scheduled to attend a two-week program at the school over the summer, but that has been canceled.

"We have been enjoying Zoom calls with current students and some advisers," Bryan said.

Traditionally, both the salutatorian and valedictorian each make a speech at graduation. But this year, school officials are still working on a plan, Principal Jonathan Klomp said. It’s not clear if there will be a live or virtual ceremony. However, both teens have some idea of how their speeches would go.

“First I would pay tribute to all the health care workers, all the essential workers," Bryan said. "Our mom is an aide at a nursing home and is working overtime, too. I am definitely experiencing what they are going through firsthand."

Carlos said he would speak about senior year in the time of the coronavirus.

Likely, he will "give an introduction about the current situation and go more into depth about how grateful it is to have a senior experience somewhat," Carlos said.

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