Friends since third grade, Permian High School graduates Faith Fulbright and Sneha Kesavan are heading to University of Texas at Austin together.
Fulbright is the valedictorian and Kesavan is the salutatorian out of a class of a little more than 800.
“I’m glad it happened,” Fulbright said. “A lot of work goes behind it. Obviously, it’s super big. … I think there’s a lot of sacrifice that goes into it, but it’s really rewarding.”
Kesavan said they always knew they would fill the valedictorian and salutatorian spots.
“We’re like besties, so it’s really cool that we were able to do this together,” Fulbright said.
“We don’t even secretly hate each other,” Kesavan added.
Fulbright said there was competition between them, but Kesavan said they are self-deprecating about it.
Kesavan added that they have a large group of friends and they joke that they are the smartest students, but they don’t act like it.
But seriously, Fulbright said it has been a dream of hers to be in the top two.
“… So it’s nice to finally get to realize that dream,” she said.
Kesavan said she always just worked really hard, so she didn’t set out for the top 10.
“… It was sort of … like do my best and whatever happens, happens …,” Kesavan said.
Fulbright is going into the honors business program at UT and Kesavan is going to major in neuroscience at the College of Natural Sciences. She is in the Woman in Natural Sciences Honors Program.
Fulbright said her parents, who graduated from University of Texas at Arlington, didn’t push her to go to any particular school, but with UT Austin it seemed that everything aligned.
“… They were so nice to me and … made me feel really special, so I’m really glad I’m going to UT,” Fulbright said.
Kesavan said it’s always been a flagship school and it seemed like it would be a great experience. She visited in person her sophomore year.
Fulbright said they visited last summer and took an unofficial tour.
Both Fulbright and Kesavan acknowledge that this year has been different because of COVID-19.
“It’s just been so much harder,” Kesavan said. “I think like it’s been so much harder to be motivated and we forget that we have so many things coming for us and graduation and everything because like we don’t feel like seniors. We still feel like … prolonged juniors and so … I guess that realization is finally kicking in, especially right now …”
Fulbright said she didn’t think her senior year would be like this, but there have been good parts such as more flexible class schedules because of the online option.
Fulbright and Kesavan are expecting UT to be more normal in the fall than it was this year.
“I think now they’re expecting more people stay in the dorms and go to more in person (classes), so it’ll definitely be more normal start in the fall,” Kesavan said.
Kesavan said her mother is a chemistry professor at Midland College and her dad is a computer engineer for Workforce Solutions.
“She’s definitely helped me so much through school. I really couldn’t have done it without her.
Fullbright’s mother is chief of staff/executive director of communication at University of Texas Permian Basin and her father is a pharmacist. She said she couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support of her family, friends, and most importantly, her teachers.
She added that teachers “make or break” how students perform in school.
Kesavan said she’s proud of what they have accomplished in high school and she’s glad that they are in the top two.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Kesavan said.