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Posted May 12, 2015

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Good Friends, Co-Valedictorians at LCHS Earn Highest APS GPA

Eli Echt-Wilson and Albert Zuo are only the second and third students in APS history to earn a 5.0 grade point average.

Eli Echt-Wilson and Albert Zuo have taken a lot of classes together at La Cueva High School -- a lot of honors and Advanced Placement classes. And they've never earned less than an A, resulting in a 5.0 grade point average for each and the honor of co-valedictorians for the Class of 2015.

The two are only the second and third students in APS history to earn a 5.0 GPA. The first was Katherine Cordwell, a 2013 Manzano graduate.

Eli and Albert started taking honors classes in the sixth grade. Over the years, they've earned As in all of their classes, including 20 weighted honors and AP classes. Classes that are more academically challenging carry more value than regular classes in calculating a student’s GPA. Any course designated as AP or honors is awarded an additional .025 per semester. So an A in a regular class is worth 4.0 points; an A in an honors or AP class is worth 4.025 points.

"This just shows that we’ve been challenging ourselves, but at the same time so many other people have challenged themselves, too, and it's really not that different than a 4.9 or 4.8. It's just a number," said Albert.

He and Eli became friends as eighth graders at Desert Ridge Middle School. In their junior year at La Cueva, they started taking a lot of classes together and teamed up on science projects and competitions. They traveled, went to conferences together and became good friends.

All that hard work has paid off. Not only are the two sharing the top academic honor at their graduation on Tuesday, May 12, but they also earned a $100,000 scholarship prize from Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. They won for their project, "A Detailed Computational Model of Tree Growth."

Eli will use his half of the prize money to help cover the cost of attending Stanford University to study computer science; Albert is headed to Princeton.

"Albert and I knew exactly what our grades were and we are totally happy being co-valedictorians because we are friends," said Eli. "There was really no competition between us. We almost planned it -- we decided we would do this."

"It’s really fitting that we tied for first because we’re really close friends and we’ve know each other for so long," added Albert. "This is the best way this could have ended. I couldn’t be happier."

 

 

 

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