Campos twins paired as top Pleasantville scholars

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PLEASANTVILLE – Right from the starting gate, Pleasantville High School seniors Nicole and Stephanie Campos, 17, were intense competitors.

The identical twin sisters have raced to the top of their class since elementary school, always with the steepest competition coming from each other.

Even as the pair prepared for graduation Thursday, June 14 with Stephanie as valedictorian and Nicole as salutatorian of the Class of 2012, the two were still talking smack and doing last minute calculations up to a few days before.

 “I actually will end up with a higher GPA at the end of the year,” Nicole said. “But the Top 10 rankings are already set. They get determined at the end of the third marking period.”

Stephanie confirmed, saying the order in which she took her advanced placement classes allowed her to grab the top prize, rather than the final credits they will have at the conclusion of the fourth marking period.

The spread between their rankings as the first and second best students is ridiculously close. Nicole’s weighted GPA is 4.95 and Stephanie’s is 4.96, both on a 5-point scale. “But it will end up something like 200th of a point. It’s that close,” said Nicole.

So close that the two consider that they own both spots collectively.

“My number one spot is hers, and her number two spot is mine,” Stephanie said. “We’ve always been great competitors, but it’s a friendly competition.”

The girls are both members of JROTC, in which they both hold leadership positions. They are members of the French honor society, National Honor Society and the math honor society Mu Alpha Theta. They played tennis and softball for the school as well, and Stephanie is also class president.

French teacher Kelli Carman-Davis said the twins are a force with which to be reckoned,

“These are powerful, strong women- women of character,” said the teacher of 22 years. “They are some of the hardest working students I have ever met. They are dedicated, kind and a lot of fun too. It’s not been easy for them, but they have fought to achieve things and never gotten down. They keep moving.”

Daughters of single mother Nelisa Villar, the sisters said their mother has always wanted a brighter future for them than she had.

Villar moved to this country from the Dominican Republic when she was 17. She has worked as a housekeeper at the casinos to support her two daughters and her son, Rafal Campos, now a student at PleasantvilleMiddle School.

“Our mom always told us, ‘I don’t want you to have to clean hotel rooms like I do,’” Nicole said. “She wanted us to get straight A’s and go to college. There was never any other option. She never wanted or expected us to achieve anything less than the best.”

Their mother’s expectations and the girls’ determination to meet them never faltered, even when Nicole got pregnant and gave birth to her own son, Jayden Jeffrey, a year and a half ago.

“I was home schooled for the semester when he was born, and I got straight A’s that semester too,” she said. “But, my sister helped me. She would come home from school and help me with my homework.”

The cooperative nature runs equally as strong between them as their competitive drive does, and the sisters are in for a big change when they head out on different paths after graduation.

Nicole is going to attend Richard Stockton College to study biology. She aspires to be a pediatrician.

Stephanie, the battalion commander for the JROTC unit, was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point this spring. However, a vision problem she has could not be corrected and approved by the academy in time for her to attend the first day of training in July. So, she has had to make a last minute change of course. She is discussing her military options with recruiters for the upcoming year and plans to reapply to West Point next year.

“We will miss each other. We won’t be able to call each other every time we have a problem,” Stephanie said. “We will have to find another way to handle things.”

Nicole said the fork in the road would be the first time the sisters will have different courses of study. “We will be learning completely different things, so we might not understand each other as well when we talk about things,” she said.

While their futures are still getting sorted out, one thing is guaranteed to remain the same - their competitive drive.

“I have to find out who is going to be the next person I have to beat. Who’s going to be my competition? Who’s my next target?” Stephanie said. 

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