Hunter Myers and Carrina Bell don’t consider themselves academic rivals, just two friends who have supported each other throughout their school careers.
On Wednesday, the Douglas High seniors waited for all the pluses and minuses to be calculated to determine who would be valedictorian and salutorian of the 400-student class. The difference was one hundredth of a point.
“We’ve never had a competitive relationship. We’ve always helped each other out,” Bell said. ”I was in third for a really long time until the start of second semester. I’m excited.”
“It’s an honor to be in the top 10, so the top two is unbelievable for me,” Myers added. “I’m just excited to get it over with and get on with the rest of my life.”
The rest of Myers’ life includes studying mechanical engineering and playing basketball at Harvard.
Bell’s plans involve a psychology major at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Both students achieved a 4.4 grade point average to get to where they are, taking numerous advanced placement classes.
“I’d remember how stressed out I was during A.P. week,” Bell said. “This year, I had one test right after another. It was constant studying all day.”
Myers had a different outlook.
“I wouldn’t say it was all bad. A.P. courses are going to prepare me for the college classes I’m going to take.”
In addition to academic success, Myers and Bell participated in extracurricular activities.
For Myers it was basketball and National Honor Society. Bell ran track and field, was vice president of the French Club, and involved in National Honor Society, Alpine Club and Block D Letterman’s Club.
Both agreed that time management was the key to balancing it all.
“With basketball, I knew when practices and games were, so it was a matter of getting homework done when I had the time,” Myers said. “I lost some sleep during basketball season, but it was a willing sacrifice.”
“It’s all about balancing homework and school and doing homework in the time you have nothing else to do,” Bell said. “If you can’t find time, you have to make time.”
Myers and Bell grew up in Carson Valley attending Minden and Jacks Valley elementary schools respectively. They credit their academic success to their parents.
“My parents forced me into A.P. classes, and I got used to it,” Bell said. “It’s something I’m good at and can excel in so I’m proud of my academic achievements.”
“My parents pushed me to keep as many doors open academically, and I took it upon myself to keep it at that top tier,” Myers added.
In 10 years, the 6-foot, 7-inch tall Myers joked that he sees himself as being taller.
“My dream life is I want to be living in Malibu,” he said. “If basketball doesn’t work out, I’m going to look for work at the jet propulsion laboratory.”
Bell plans to be working as a psychological researcher. Following graduation, Hunter will move to Boston to start an internship in the biomedical engineering lab at Harvard. Bell will stay local and work a summer job.
Graduation is 5:30 p.m. today on the high school softball field.