Photo (from left to right): Twin sisters Sweta and Swati Narayan have been named Irvington High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
The sisters said they’ve worked incredibly hard throughout their high school career, but were surprised to receive the school’s top honors. They attribute their success to their ability to persevere through any challenge they may face, and thanked their parents for their unwavering support and encouragement to try new things. But the friendly and healthy competition between the two young women kept motivating them to work harder and set the bar higher for each other.
“There has always been some friendly competition between us,” said Sweta, who is older by 13 minutes. “Both of us are in many of the same classes and do many of the same activities, so this competition is inevitable. Nevertheless, I do think that this competition has been constructive, as it has always motivated both of us to work harder and do better.”
Sweta and Swati are both members of the Model U.N. and Latin Club and have completed extensive and challenging independent research as part of the school’s Science Research Program. Sweta has also performed with the high school’s pit orchestra, while Swati has performed with the high school’s chamber ensemble, which she founded. Outside of school, they’ve worked with children with special needs, volunteered at Phelps Memorial Hospital, taught themselves how to speak, read and write the ancient Indian language, called Sanskrit, and have been performing a classical Indian dance, called the Bharatanatyam, for more than 10 years. This past February, they took center stage in India where they performed Bharatanatyam. In addition, Sweta was named National Merit Scholarship finalist this spring.
The soon-to-be graduates said if they could give any piece of advice to the incoming freshmen, it would be to never underestimate themselves and believe that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to.
“I would tell them that if they want to join a club, run for an office, start a club, take a class or participate in an activity, they should go for it because four years go by very quickly,” Swati said. “They should never let a perceived failure stop them from trying harder. There are going to be a lot of things in high school that are difficult and no one can be perfect at everything they do. However, if they let these ‘failures’ motivate them, then they will achieve a lot more than they ever thought they could.”
In the fall, Sweta will attend the University of Chicago where she plans on majoring in biology. Swati also plans on studying biology and will be attending Amherst College.
Photo courtesy of the Irvington Union Free School District