INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Not only are their grade point averages off the charts and nearly identical, but they’ve been best friends since they were toddlers. On Thursday, 2013 Incline High School valedictorian Jordan Jones and salutatorian Kayla Goldberg will address their graduating class, beginning a new phase of their lives.
As Goldberg and Jones took time to answer questions recently about their academic careers, more often than not, Jones would answer for Goldberg, and vice versa — they know each other that well.
“We’ve been friends since preschool — probably before that,” said Goldberg, as Jones reached over to pull a stray long hair on Goldberg’s sweater.
And while they consider themselves opposites on most everything, what they do say they have in common is they are both self-driven. Both also are members of the National Honor Society.
Jones earned a 5.21 weighted GPA this year, while Kayla holds a 5.11, based on earning top grades, including in Advanced Placement classes.
Jones has a full ride scholarship to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, in the fall, where she will study biology and philosophy. She then plans to attend medical school, perhaps becoming an emergency room physician.
“I want to help individuals on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “I tried biomedical research and I was bored out of my mind.”
Goldberg will attend Southern Methodist University next fall. While she’s unsure what she will eventually do, she said her passion is dance, and she loves working with kids.
Both agreed Incline schools prepared them well for their academic futures.
“From elementary school on, we have had the best teachers in the district,” Goldberg said.
English teacher/soccer coach Tom Canino spoke highly of Goldberg, who was in his English class.
“She very intelligent — a great student,” he said. “She knows when I am being a trickster with the class, and she gives me a look of, ‘let’s get back to business.’”
Russell Resney, a math and science teacher at Incline High, said of Jones, “One of the coolest things about Jordan is, she really wants to learn things, the more challenging, the better. There are things she can take you off task with as she takes a concept further.”
Jones and Goldberg also said they are grateful for the support they’ve received from the community.
And, according to Incline High School principal Stacey Cooper, the girls have reciprocated.
“We couldn’t have been blessed more than with these two astute, dedicated students, volunteering and giving to the community,” Cooper said.
Aside from academics, the girls also discussed their friendship — and their differences. Jones, who loves cold and wet weather, calls Goldberg “The Sun Queen.”
At some point, Jones said she would like to go to Costa Rica to study bugs.
“Kayla hates bugs. Especially spiders,” she added, then looked over at Goldberg with concern, saying, “Kayla is starting to hyperventilate.”
Jones also admitted to being obsessive compulsive about cleanliness, and took time to rib Kayla on the disorder of her room.
“She has bags of Beanie Babies everywhere,” Jones said, and Kayla admitted she is “a collector.”
Joking aside, the girls said they want to stay in touch in the future, yet believe they will live far from each other.
“Kayla is going to be living somewhere hot like Southern Methodist University in Texas and I’m going to be somewhere where it’s cold,” Jones said.
Yet with their lifelong friendship it is hard to imagine they will not be close friends forever.
Graduation is Thursday, June 13, at 4 p.m. at Incline High School.
Frank Fisher is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.