DUBLIN, Ga. — This week, we are highlighting our Great Grads, and these two come out of East Laurens High. For many people, going through school is an independent journey, but for twin sisters, one graduating as valedictorian and the other salutatorian, they've been by each other’s side through it all.
Jami and Jessi Norris knew from an early age that they loved learning.
"If we got a bad grade, it would be us doubting ourselves, and it would be my mom being like, 'It's OK.' She was so confused because she was like, 'You made a 90,' and we were like, 'That's not good enough,'" Jami said.
Hard work was instilled in them from the start. The Norrises remember their first day of Pre-K, running in and never looking back.
"We used to go to the beach every year right before school started, and me and Jessi would sit in the water for hours and talk about school. We would talk about what teachers we were going to have, what subjects we were looking forward to," Jami said.
The sisters have continued that same passion for school into high school, joining clubs, competing in sports, and graduating from Georgia Military College with Associate's degrees. Allison Tokar is the girls' counselor.
"Four times the number of courses that the regular kids have taken, they just keep going and going like the Energizer bunnies. They're impressive girls, they are," Tokar said.
"Growing up, we did not feel like we had to fit in necessarily, because we always had each other, so we weren't too worried about doing what everybody else was doing," Jessi said.
But, of course with any siblings, there's a little rivalry.
"My father did say he would pay me if I beat her to be valedictorian, so I think he just wanted us to stay competitive and keep it up," Jessi said.
They say the thing that makes their bond so special is that it's "Definitely a partnership. People say the 'platonic soulmate' thing -- that's definitely what we got going on here. We were just made for each other," said Jami.
"It's hard to go out and take risks and do stuff without someone there, so I feel like a lot of what we have is because of each other," said Jessi.
After 18 years of living together, they plan to do it at least four more, rooming together at University of Georgia. Jami wants to one day be a pediatrician, and Jessi wants to be a biological engineer. The twins say after college, even if their careers take them far apart, they hope to stay best friends.