Best friends graduate at top of class

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Clemente said he considers his own self-improvement one of his most significant achievements. He told the Herald that his passion for music is something that was not always there. Now, he plans on pursuing that passion in college. With music as his minor, he plans to major in electrical engineering at Hofstra.

Clemente said that he was in utter disbelief when it was announced that he would be salutatorian. A year or two ago, however, he would have preferred to be ranked third — for a reason one might not expect. “When people asked me in 10th or 11th grade what rank I would want to be, I would say third,” he told the Herald. “[Second] is a good rank. But I wouldn’t have to make a speech at graduation!”

Clemente said that there was an expectation from his family that he perform well enough to be on par with his siblings. His older brother was valedictorian of his school, while his older sister was ranked third in hers.

As Mathew and Clemente put the finishing touches on their speeches for graduation day, they will recall all the hard work it took to get them to the podium in front of their fellow students. They will think about the support of their family and friends and how that played a crucial role in their rise to the top. Then, finally, each of them will be able to recall the memories made in the years spent competing with their fellow students — and each will see his best friend at his side at that podium, separated by less than a point and having soared to the top.

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