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Twins both named valedictorians - he at Holy Cross, she at Ursuline

The twins will have to miss some parts of each other's commencement ceremonies, because they are scheduled for the same times.

NEW ORLEANS — For years, twins from Harvey had a friendly competition with each other over school grades.

So what would happen when it came time for graduation and the title of valedictorian at each of their schools?

Jenea Atkins remembers the day nearly two decades ago, when she found out she was expecting twins.

“I kind of drove around aimlessly, because I was like, ‘Oh my God. I'm having twins. Can I get to the end with them?’” said Jenea Atkins.

Fraternal twins Josh and Anna came seven weeks early. They were tiny, spending time in the NICU, but they quickly began meeting all of their developmental milestones. And something else stood out. They were self-motivated when it came to school work.

“Always kind of looked and did well at school, liked school, and never, never had to ask them, ‘Did you finish this project? Did you finish that? Did you?’ It was always they just got right to it,” she said.

And it showed. Their mom maybe remembers a B or two in the younger days, but never any Cs. Their report cards were filled with every parent's dream, straight As. Some of it came naturally, but they also put in the hard work.

“For this year I want to get like all As, and it just became well the next year, well I did that the previous year. I'm going to keep on going, and then about junior year, I was like, “I think I can do this,’” said Anna Atkins, who is graduating from Ursuline.

As for Josh, he made a decision years ago, and even asked his school counselors, what would it take to be valedictorian. He told us about that goal from a Florida water park on his senior trip.

“I choose the classes that I had to complete, and I made sure I did well in them. I just really enjoyed kind of like pushing myself in areas that others just thought was, like you know, useless,” said Josh Atkins, who is graduating from Holy Cross.

Both wanted to earn the valedictorian title, but with the friendly rivalry, and lifelong sibling competition, their parents had a concern.

“My husband and I just in passing said, ‘What happens if one does and the other doesn't?’” said Jenea.

Then on Friday, each got a call from the school principal. The straight As for Josh at Holy Cross, and the straight As for Anna at Ursuline, paid off. They each were valedictorian.

“He called me right afterwards and told me and so. That was cool,” said Anna about Josh.

And in her graduation speech, Anna plans to thank Josh not only for the competition, but his friendship and mentorship too.

The twins will have to miss some parts of each other's commencement ceremonies, because they are scheduled for the same times.

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