updated 5/20/2008 2:41:15 PM ET 2008-05-20T18:41:15

OTHELLO, Wash. — Like Michelle and Erica Wheeler, lots of twins have a special closeness, sharing likes and dislikes, good times and tough going. The Wheelers also have something else in common, graduating from the 850-student high school in this Eastern Washington town as valedictorians — the only ones this year with perfect grade point averages.

"We're attached at the hip," Michelle joked.

"It's easy to confide in each other," Erica said. "We can help each other through difficulties."

Both took advance placement classes, including English, science and calculus, "the toughest courses we offer at the high school," school counselor Norma Gonzalez said.

Pitcher and catcher
They're also active in Future Farmers of America, play on the softball team — Michelle as pitcher and Erica as catcher — and lead the Leo Club, a teen auxiliary of the Lions Club, with Michelle as president and Erica vice president.

"You would love to have a classroom of 30 of them or 40 of them," math teacher Laurie Stickel said. "They're good, wholesome kids."

While they are fraternal rather than identical twins and have some differences, including the dresses they wore to their prom, their close relationship makes them better students, Stickel said.

"Together they're brighter," she said. "They make a whole."

College plans
Erica agrees.

"I don't feel the same if she's not with me," she said, "but I know if I have her support I'll be fine."

Both plan to enroll at Washington State University in Pullman, study pharmacy and live in the same dormitory, but Michelle said they expect to be less involved in each other's lives.

"Things will probably be different over there," she said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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