Twin sisters Rebecca and Jessica Fu are Statesboro High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian. While having twins share this honor is a first for Statesboro High, a quick check on Google reveals it’s actually more common than one would think.
“It’s an exciting honor, and our mom thinks it’s quite funny,” Rebecca said. “It’s a great opportunity to share it with her and our family.” Rebecca and Jessica’s parents are Dr. and Mrs. George Fu of Statesboro. Dr. Fu is a civil engineering professor at Georgia Southern University.
“Being valedictorian was not my goal. For a while I was third in our class, but even then I just always tried to do my very best," she said.
While Rebecca and Jessica shared the podium at Statesboro’s graduation on Friday night, the two will not share a dorm room this fall. In fact, they will be in cities about 11 hours apart. Rebecca will attend Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and major in Business and Finance. Jessica is heading to Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, Georgia, to major in International Affairs.
Rebecca is excited about her choice of Washington University. It is a private university ranked as the seventh best college in the nation for entrepreneurs and ranked second for one of the best run colleges, its dorm rooms and campus food according to the Princeton Review.
“We visited Washington University two Christmases ago when my older brother, Weibo Fu, was considering going to college there. I just really fell in love with the campus and its collaborative atmosphere. I want to explore the data analysis and math sphere of business there,” she said.
Rebecca is looking forward to finding business and Asian/American organizations to join during her time at Washington University. A flautist who was a member of the SHS Symphonic Band and the Averitt Center for the Arts Orchestra, she hopes to also find outlets to continue her musical talent as a hobby.
“Rebecca is a very talented flautist,” said Statesboro’s Director of Bands Lee Collins. “She has been an absolute joy to teach. Highly dedicated to our band program, she has been a member of the District Honor Band in Savannah all four years of high school. She will be truly missed; however, I am sure she will be very successful at anything she pursues in the future.”
Rebecca’s parents are originally from Tianjin, China, but she and her sister were born in Canada, where she still retains citizenship. The family moved to Statesboro in 2009, when the girls were in third grade.
“I remember my mom enrolled us in Sallie Zetterower Elementary School. She was so impressed by how the schools taught character words, and she felt this would be very good for us,” Rebecca said.
It’s evident that character education and her parents’ guidance have influenced Rebecca. She is an independent, confident and poised young woman. In her speech on Friday, she encouraged her fellow graduates to find balance in their lives.
“Chill out; don’t burn out. You don’t have to have everything figured out. Make worthwhile choices and use your energy for things you love," she told her classmates.
“Rebecca has been one of the hardest working and dedicated young ladies that I have ever had the opportunity to teach,” said SHS science teacher Rich McCombs. “Her desire to learn as much as she could from a multitude of classes and disciplines clearly sets her apart from a majority of her classmates.”
McCombs noted that she is not only academically gifted but she enjoys gaining a deeper appreciation on how we influence the world in which we live.
“She tries many different clubs and organizations to help her understand the community outside of academics," he said.
Rebecca was a member of McCombs’ SECME Club, an engineering student organization, and in 10th grade was part of one of the club’s teams that competed at the SECME national championships.
“She exemplifies what it means to be a well-rounded student,” McCombs added.
Rebecca’s accomplishments in high school also included being a six-year member of the SHS swim team beginning when she was in seventh grade at William James Middle School. She was also a member of the Beta Club and the National Honor Society. In addition to taking all of the Advanced Placement options SHS offered, she took additional ones online and was dually enrolled at Georgia Southern University.