Valedictorian Profile: Sharing the Spotlight – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Twin sisters win 2022 valedictorian and salute titles at Eagle Point High School

Photo by Denise Baratta | Cara Stanek, right, is the 2022 valedictorian at Eagle Point High School, sharing the honors with her twin sister Emma Stanek, who is this year’s salutatorian.

German-born Eagle Point twins Emma and Cara Stanek hold dual citizenship in the United States and their mother’s home country before arriving in Oregon as an exchange student.

And when it comes to the Class of 2022 at Eagle Point High School, the two young women have dueling academic honors. Emma is this year’s salutatorian while Cara is the valedictorian.

“I think it’s really such a great opportunity that we can share this together as one and two – it doesn’t matter who is first or second,” Emma said.

Cara added, “I think being able to share this with my sister is amazing, and I think the fact that we’re one and two is a big accomplishment for us.”

The two learned of their top rankings last year when they started applying to college. An electronic educational services system used by EPHS students showed Cara as first in her class and Emma as second.

“We thought it was a mistake at first,” Cara said.

But it was not a mistake. Emma and Cara found that although they took the same number of advanced-level courses and earned all A’s, they took different electives that impacted their GPA. Cara took a work experience course with or without a pass that gave her a higher GPA than Emma, ​​who took an advanced acting course that was graded.

The Eagle Point High School sisters admitted that learning they wouldn’t both be valedictorians caused a brief rift between them.

“It’s tough for both parties,” Cara said. “You feel bad that your sister feels bad and then you feel bad about yourself and the position you’re in.”

Emma admitted that holding the title of salutatorian was initially “a bit hurtful when you’ve worked so hard”.

Emma and Cara’s mother, Anja Rink, says the family ‘struggled a bit’ to celebrate Cara’s achievement as valedictorian while ‘comforting Emma and her disappointment’ at being named a Salvationator .

“Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that this extra course Emma took would have such a big impact,” Rink wrote.

The realization that only one of the sisters would achieve the highest honor was compounded by the fact that both sisters believed they had competed to be “the best” virtually their entire lives.

However, as young women on the verge of adulthood, they have learned to look beyond and find the positives.

“I definitely got over it and figured out how to just be happy for my sister and proud of both of us,” Emma said.

Cara added, “I think we’ve accepted and recognized that we’re both amazing in our own ways.”

Emma’s career goals

The EPHS salute debated whether to stay in the state and enroll at Oregon State University or go to the University of Arizona. In the end, she chose the latter.

“It’s a bit risky. It’s a long way from home, but I think it will be the best trip to find my individuality and explore a new place,” Emma said.

She called Cara “my other half” and said choosing the Tucson institution was tough, but OSU didn’t have its major – nursing – and the University of Arizona gave her a better one. stock Exchange. Emma will study to become a nurse in a neonatology unit or to become a pediatric assistant, two jobs she has been thinking about since a young age.

“I’m sure I want a career path where I directly help others,” Emma said. “As a neonatal nurse or pediatric assistant, I would have the opportunity to help care for people who haven’t even had a chance to really start living their lives.”

Emma’s discussion of her career choice made Cara laugh, saying it’s one of the things that sets them apart from each other.

“I despise medical stuff – I can’t handle blood or vomit or anything, so she’s great for the medical field,” Cara said.

Cara’s career goals

The EPHS major received a full scholarship to Oregon State University, where she hopes to earn her bachelor’s degree in education and English. That way, Cara said, she would be able to teach at all levels.

“I would like to inspire many students in the same way my teachers have inspired me,” Cara wrote in her entry to the Mail Tribune’s 2022 list of valley majors. “Teachers raise generations and are some of the most influential people.”

After what she hopes will be “many years of teaching,” Cara would like to move into an administrative role in education.

“In administration, I would take on a lot more responsibility and have an added impact on others,” she wrote.

Growing up before breaking up

As they leave for college, Emma and Cara recognize that they’ve been close all their lives. In fact, they only spent a week apart.

“It will be a great opportunity to find individuality and be known as ourselves, rather than ‘the twins’, because that’s what our whole life was like as ‘the twins – Emma and Cara ‘” Cara said.

The comment led her to note that when the two go to universities in separate states, they will only be known individually as Emma and Cara.

By finding her individuality, Emma thinks she will be “forced to step out of my comfort zone”.

“I definitely lean on my sister sometimes, and sometimes we come as a couple,” she said. “It will be nice to be able to find how I want to express myself.”

Although they long to reunite as individuals, Emma and Cara can’t help but love each other.

“We understand each other perfectly,” Cara said. “I just know that she always thinks the same as me in all situations. It’s great to have someone who understands you.

Cara and Emma’s mother said she and her husband, Eagle Point Councilman Mike Stanek, are “so incredibly proud” of their daughters.

“It’s hard to put it into words because no words seem to be able to capture how full of joy and pride our hearts are,” Rink said.

Emma and Cara will speak to their graduating class at Eagle Point High School, 203 N. Platt Ave., at 7:30 p.m. on June 10.

Contact journalist Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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