by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

May 31, 2013

CHOCTAW, Oklahoma – Amid the tornado-ravaged areas of Oklahoma, the Filipino community still has plenty of reasons to celebrate.

After a deadly tornado delayed graduation ceremonies, Filipino students went on with their graduations and after-parties, celebrating two Filipino-Americans from Choctaw High School who tied for valedictorian.

Scott Nusz and Kylie Morgan both graduated as valedictorian.

“It feels great I feel like I’ve worked really hard,” Morgan said.

“It was really tough to get all A’s but I’m happy we got through it together,” Nusz added.

They have been classmates and friends since kindergarten. For the past 13 years, they’ve always been at the top of their class, receiving straight A’s.

“It’s been fun knowing that we’ve had someone right there,” Morgan said.

“I’ve had you, you’ve had me basically our whole life. It’s just nice having someone to fall back on,” Nusz said.

Next year will be the first time Morgan and Nusz will not be attending school together. Morgan is heading to Southwest Oklahoma
State University on a full scholarship, while Nusz will go to community college.

However, both of them are aiming for the same field – medicine.

“I’m just going to go to a local community college for two years, and after that I’m going to go to a bigger university and aim for pharmacy or medicine,” Nusz said.

Fil-Ams proved to be among the brightest in this area. This year’s class of 2013 at Choctaw High had five Filipinos in the top ten.

The students believe the close ties among Filipinos in the quiet community helped the students stay focused on their studies.

“She’s a really big inspiration, and I think I need to beat her so I’m going for valedictorian too, hopefully of distinction, so I’m coming for you, Kylie,” Morgan’s brother Trenton said.

But the students aren’t only excelling in the classroom. Since the tornadoes ravaged nearby Moore and Shawnee, many of them have been volunteering in relief efforts.

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