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Twin sisters Alina and Anastasia Antropova started off in the world together — and now they have another achievement attached to their names. They’re both community college graduates with valedictorian honors.
The 19-year-old twin sisters graduated from Holyoke Community College, a two-year public institution in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on Saturday, June 4.
Both sisters maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout their enrollment while juggling a startling amount of extracurricular activities, scholarship applications and competitions.
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Alina studied English and was an active member of the HCC Creative Writing Club. She served as an editor of the school’s art and literary magazine, Pulp City.
In 2021, Alina Antropova earned first place in the HCC Library’s BUILD Research Competition. She submitted a four-part paper from her intermediate Spanish 201 class titled “Building Up the Bildungsroman: Exploring the Connections in the Magical, Diasporic, Caribbean, Female Coming-of-age Novel.”
The theoretical paper explored how the literary genre should be viewed as a revolutionary art form that has “feminist” and “decolonial” roots.
Alina cited Naomi Jackson’s novel “The Star Side of Bird Hill” to argue her findings. Her work earned her a weekend trip to NYC, where the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society awarded her a New Century Transfer Scholarship.
“I was able to form connections with my professors and be mentored while I was completing my coursework.”
“It means a lot to me to be named a valedictorian of HCC in addition to all the other happy memories I have made here,” Alina told Fox News Digital.
“I have taken amazing classes that were engaging and challenging, especially in the honors program, so I am happy to have done well.”
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“HCC has been an incredible environment for me to spend my first two years of college,” she continued. “I was able to form connections with my professors and be mentored while I was completing my coursework.”
Anastasia, for her part, studied chemistry and served as the vice president of the HCC STEM Club. She focused on sustainable chemistry and did research into minimizing waste production and toxicity in chemical processes.
In her final semester, Anastasia worked on an independent research project; she used a microwave oven to synthesize aspirin without a catalyst.
She presented the findings from her paper, “Give It the Green Light: Evaluating Microwave Synthesis of Aspirin for Environmental Impact,” virtually at the UMass Undergraduate Research Conference in April.
“My sister and I chose HCC because we graduated from high school at the start of the pandemic and were hesitant to spend tens of thousands of dollars at a private school for online classes.”
“I am so proud to be a valedictorian of the class of 2022 and to now be a Holyoke Community College alumna,” Anastasia told Fox News Digital. “HCC has been such a wonderful place to learn and grow these past two years. I cannot express how glad I am to have ended up there.”
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“My sister and I chose HCC because we graduated from high school at the start of the pandemic and were hesitant to spend tens of thousands of dollars at a private school for online classes,” she also said.
“But we ended up treasuring the sense of community and personal connection we found here. I believe that life puts us in the right place at the right time, whether we know it at the time.”
Anastasia added that she’s grateful to her professors, mentors and advisers. She appreciates the support she received from Dr. Diane Stengle, a chemistry professor at Holyoke Community College, who offered support.
“She helped me find my footing in science, and I will always be grateful for her belief that I am smart and capable enough to succeed,” Anastasia said.
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“Because of her, I’m planning to pursue my Ph.D. in sustainable chemistry, and I want her to know just how much she has influenced me.”
Before they graduated, Alina and Anastasia, who are from Southwick, Massachusetts, made time to tutor their peers, which earned them both an Academic Support Award for Tutorial Excellence from the school’s writing and tutoring center.
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“I’m extremely grateful for the HCC tutoring center for being my home on campus,” Alina told Fox News Digital. “Frank Johnson [of the English department] was the best boss … The tutors have been amazing colleagues.”
Alina attended the 2022 commencement ceremony at the MassMutual Center in Springfield solo on Saturday, while Anastasia traveled to Ohio to start her summer research internship with the National Science Foundation at the University of Cincinnati.
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Over the summer, Alina will also leave Massachusetts for Albany, New York, where she’ll work on college access programs at a refugee welcome center with AmeriCorps.
The sisters will reunite in the fall when they start at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. They’ll be working toward their bachelor’s degrees.
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Alina is planning to study English, social thought and political economy, and is aiming to become an immigration attorney.
Anastasia is planning to further her chemistry studies so that she can become a scientist.