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Sisters share valedictorian honors at Parkview

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Kathleen Foody
June 27, 2009
— If you met Sarah and Ahlia DuPree and Amanda Mortimer on the street, you might guess they’re sisters.

Their matching blonde hair and an easy way of teasing each other that comes with sharing a house for 18 years are dead giveaways.


But the trio has something else in common—each graduated as valedictorian of her class at Parkview High School.


While the sisters agree it’s a unique situation, 22-year-old Sarah said “it was just expected” after oldest sister Amanda earned the honor.


“This wasn’t a given, though,” Amanda said. “We all had to work for it.”


Amanda, 24, works as a first-grade teacher in the Beloit School District. Sarah graduated from UW-Whitewater this spring, and Ahlia, 18, became the third DuPree sister to claim the title at Parkview in May.


Sarah hopes to use her degree in public relations working for an animal rights group. Ahlia plans to attend UW-Whitewater and major in secondary education.


Parkview does not weight honors or advanced placement courses—“which is stupid,” Ahlia said—so the sisters had to earn top grades for the honor.


Ahlia shared the award with another student in 2009. Amanda and Sarah both were solo valedictorians.


Being “the smart one” in classes had its occasional downsides. Amanda said classmates expected them to know every answer.


“If you didn’t know, it was like ‘Ooo, she doesn’t know the answer,’” Sarah said. “It was like, ‘Shut up, you don’t know either.’”


“You’d get teased sometimes for knowing the answers or for not knowing them,” Ahlia added.


The scholarship that accompanies the award was more important than giving a speech or seeing their names in the program, Amanda said. The sisters always knew they would pay for college on their own and all worked as Texas Roadhouse waitresses through high school.


Like any siblings, the girls fought when they were living under the same roof, especially in the morning.


“You could not even talk to me (in the morning),” Amanda said. “Even if you said, ‘Good morning,’ I’d snap.”


Attending college and getting their own space helped the three grow closer, Sarah said.


“I think we get along better now than we ever did growing up,” she said.



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