Student friends

Auburn High School students Tori DeJoy, left, and Kate Brundage are the class of 2018's salutatorian and valedictorian, respectively.

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen

Auburn High School chemistry teacher Prin Furst said that when she looks into the hallway outside her classroom in the morning, she often sees seniors Kate Brundage and Tori DeJoy hanging out.

"If they're not together in the morning, it's because one's not there (at the school)," Furst said.

Longtime friends Brundage and DeJoy often make time to see each other, whether it's in the hallways, at the various school clubs they're in together or on weekends. And next year, they'll be together at a new spot: the podium at graduation. 

Brundage and DeJoy have been selected as the high school's valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. The duo said they are excited to have their hard work recognized. They often find themselves supporting each other while juggling schoolwork, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities.

Both of them belong to the school's French club, ski club and chemistry club, as well as the recently formed Students for Owasco Watershed Lake Association club, of which Brundage is president and DeJoy is treasurer. Each is also involved in her own other groups. Both try to manage their time in order to balance their responsibilities, which they admit can be exhausting.

The two met in middle school, but became friends their freshman year. They were "tense friends," they said, when they originally crossed paths, as they were both extremely competitive and wanted to as well in school as they could. However, DeJoy and Brundage said they respected each each other's intelligence and hard work.

Brundage said she believes the two first bonded after DeJoy was invited to go tubing, as Brundage's family lives by Owasco Lake.

"That's got to be it, right?" Brundage asked DeJoy. DeJoy agreed.

Brundage said she appreciates DeJoy's enthusiasm, intelligence and supportive attitude. DeJoy, on the other hand, appreciates Brundage's willingness to try new things, like taking on a new hill when they are skiing, as well as her strong reading comprehension and extensive vocabulary. 

The compatriots said they are still figuring out their college plans. Brundage is eying nine schools and has applied to Villanova University and Dartmouth College.

DeJoy, meanwhile, is eyeing several colleges, including Tufts and Colgate, but isn't sure which one she wants to go to yet.

One thing is certain, however: They don't plan on going to the same college. Brundage and DeJoy explained that they don't want colleges picking from the same high school's top two students.

"We know that likely would decrease the other's chance of getting in," Brundage said.

When talking about what one does better than the other, Brundage admits DeJoy's mathematical ability trumps her own. DeJoy said Brundage beats her in athleticism, and marveled at the fact Brundage has been playing tennis since the fourth grade.

"I am not very coordinated. Sports are a big no for me," DeJoy said.

Furst, who teaches an advanced regents chemistry class, had both as students and interacts with them at the school's chemistry club, for which she is the adviser. She said Brundage also took her Advanced Placement chemistry class.

Furst respects that Brundage and DeJoy take on difficult courses while still supporting each other. The teacher believes both students actively work to achieve their goals.

"They definitely have much more internal motivation than the average student," Furst said.

Brundage and DeJoy said they are glad they received the high school's honors together.

"It's an honor to share this with my best friend of many years," Brundage said.

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


Education Reporter