For Ari and Zak Blumer, a little competition between siblings has been a good thing.
The Blumers, in addition to being identical twins, are both valedictorians for the Watkins Memorial High School class of 2014.
Principal Ben Richards said 270 Watkins students are expected to graduate at 4 p.m. May 25 in the high school gymnasium.
"This class means a great deal to me for many reasons, but the most significant is how they have worked to better not only themselves, but our school as well, during the past four years," Richards said. "This is a highly intelligent, very active and involved class, and I expect great feats from them in the not-too-distant future."
Richards said any student earning better than a 4.0 GPA is a valedictorian, and this year there are 15, including the Blumers, Kayla Christman, Dustin Cremeans, Brady Etz, Sarah Fannin, Caroline Fitzpatrick, Kyle Helfrich, Zackary Heller, Megan Jamison, Jerrod Lyon, Isaac O'Brien, Connor Pingel, Justin Treinish and Morgan Willis.
This year's salutatorian is Drake Addis.
Zak Blumer said he was not surprised he and his brother both achieved the honor of valedictorian.
"From my point of view, it really isn't out of the norm," Zak said. "We're always at the top because we've always pushed each other."
"It's pretty fun," said Ari. "We're both valedictorians because we're twins."
Ari said neither he nor Zak wants to be considered the "stupid" twin, so if one earns an A, so must the other.
Both Blumers plan to attend Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College.
It wasn't a requirement they attend the same university, but, "when you share DNA and the same interests, it's only natural we'd look for the same things in a school," Zak said.
Whether it's called valedictorian or summa cum laude, graduating near the top of the class is not easy, said Licking Heights High School senior Ross Friel.
Friel will graduate summa cum laude with three of his classmates: Jacob Hopkins, Adelle Kenney and John Kenney.
Students graduating magna cum laude include Tara Bauer, Alyson Lyle, Nikola Mitevski, Aleksandra Stojkovic and Nicole Tracey.
According to the policy adopted in July 2013, Licking Heights students earning a GPA of 4.1 or above are summa cum laude; those earning 3.89 to 4.09 are magna cum laude; and those earning 3.7 to 3.88 are cum laude.
Friel's advice to underclassmen wanting to achieve summa cum laude is: "You can always give more. Try to give a little more every year. You get what you work for."
Licking Heights is expected to hand out diplomas to 274 graduates at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at Veterans Memorial in downtown Columbus.
"They're a surprising class for me," Licking Heights High School Principal Kenneth Kraemer said. "They really pulled together toward the end of the year. You can see some leadership quality there."
Kraemer said he believes the class of 2014 would continue to achieve after high school.
"I don't think the class has reached its full potential yet," Kraemer said. "I know they'll be successful in college and their careers."