By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Top of the class: Salem High School
Laura Nelson, Valedictorian, and Holly Nelson, Salutatorian - photo by Bryan Fazio

They've done everything together since before they were even born.

So, it's only fitting that Laura and Holly Nelson enjoy the biggest achievements of their young lives together.

Salem High's identical twins are always together; they have always taken the same classes, enjoyed the same hobbies, shared the same clothes and the same physical features.

On Friday they will also share a stage as valedictorian and salutatorian.

"It's really an honor to be salutatorian," Holly said. "We have a class of really great people and we had a competition to see who was the best, so it was kind of fun competing to see who was the best. So it's an honor to be second best, I guess out of all our friends."

Laura and Holly are not the competitive type with both participating in the same clubs in high school and choosing the same path at the University of Georgia; however, Holly was quick to point out the difference in their final GPA's.

Laura was the top of her class with a 4.262 grade point average, earning her valedictorian honors, while Holly settled for salutatorian with a 4.261 GPA.

Yeah, just one thousandth point of a difference. It was a difference that both twins were humble about, and Holly said she knew was coming.

"I know I would always be second to her," Holly said. "In seventh grade I got my first B in Algebra One, so I knew it was coming for a while."

It was another four years until Laura earned her first B, picking one up her junior year in AP Calculus. But the Nelson's both said they have been there to help each other.

"It wasn't really a competition between us two exactly, because we always try to help each other to be the best we can," Laura said.

Yet now that there is a tangible, albeit fractional, difference between the two, Laura and Holly are still in it together as their teachers ask them to give speeches.

"We're not planning on giving speeches," Laura said. "They've asked us to, but we don't really like giving speeches."

They know that, (and they often seem to refer to themselves as we), because of taking speech as a dual enrollment class at Georgia Perimeter College.

They plan on continuing the trend of taking classes together at UGA, where they will also be roommates.

Living together is, of course, nothing new to the Nelson twins, but it is also something they have relished over the last 17 years.

"It's really comforting because I've never been alone," Laura said. "It's always nice to have someone know what you're going through all the time. Her problems are my problems and vice versa. She knows how I feel about school, and anything she has is the same problem I do."