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June 11, 2013

PN-G top 2 a close-knit bunch

PORT NECHES — There is a noticeable lack of tension among the top 2 percent of the Port Neches-Groves High School Class of 2013. The nine students whisper among themselves, laugh with ease and don’t hesitate to compliment their fellow classmates.

“We’re the least competitive class ever,” said Elizabeth Dubois, as classmate Emily Bolyard rested her head on her shoulder. “We love each other.”

Bolyard and Dubois’ friendship began when Dubois moved to Port Neches from Virginia in their fifth-grade year. In high school, both girls danced under the Friday night lights as members of the Indianettes drill team — Bolyard as a lieutenant — and served as co-editors of the PowWow, the school newspaper. Bolyard advanced to the UIL Journalism state competition in Austin the last two years — bringing home a third-place trophy for News Writing in 2012 — while Dubois honed her vocal skills as a member of Indian Singers.

Now, after finishing first and second in their class, respectively, Bolyard and Dubois are packing their bags for the University of Texas at Austin, where they will room together.

As much as the two girls have in common, their fields of studies lie at opposite ends of the spectrum. Bolyard plans to pursue a degree in civil engineering. When her time as a Longhorn is up, she hopes to land a job with a civil engineering firm in a large city.

“I don’t think a master’s is much required for engineering now,” Bolyard said.

Meanwhile, Dubois is taking the humanities route with English and religious studies. Upon graduation from UT, she will look for a career where she can utilize both — ideally, as a writer for a nonprofit organization or a publication.

“I'm really interested in religion — not just my religion, per se, but understanding other religions too,” Dubois said. “I hope I can put that to good use.”

Tied for third in the class of ‘13 are Katherine LaFleur and Libby You. LaFleur, who served as president of the Spanish Club in addition to participating in Indian Singers and working on both the school’s newspaper and yearbook, will attend Lamar University in Beaumont to study speech pathology. She hopes to put her degree to use as either a speech pathologist at an elementary school, or in a private practice that focuses on children.

Like Bolyard and Dubois, You is bound for the University of Texas at Austin in the fall, where she will supplement a major in Asian languages and culture with another in international relations. The president of the French club, who also participated in UIL Math and the vocal ensemble choir, aspires to travel abroad as a translator.

No. 5, Patrick Papa, will join three of his classmates at UT. He hopes that getting his degree in pharmacy will be a stepping stone to a career as a clinical pharmacologist.

Four students are tied for the number 6 spot. Carli Carrier, an avid soccer player, will attend Texas A&M University as a biology major, but she won’t stop there. Carrier plans to obtain her master’s degree, and possibly her Ph.D, in neuroscience, which will prepare her for a career in a research lab or possibly as a college professor.

Julia Carter, an active member of the Indian Band, will began studying modern languages at Lamar University in the fall. Her degree, Carter said, will enable her to work as a translator and study foreign cultures. Currently her primary focus is Spanish, but she is also interested in learning the Asian languages.

Sarah Deslatte, the 2012-2013 Indian Band Drum Major, will join classmate Carrier at Texas A&M University. She will major in business as preparation for a career with a corporation or law firm — although she hasn’t ruled out medical school.

Indian basketball player Brandon Pham is pursuing a degree in biology at Lamar University. After graduation, he aspires to open his own pediatric practice.

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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