Zephyr High School students Haven Rogers and Codi Perkins have been close friends since they met in junior high.

Both have competed in athletics for the Lady Bulldogs and were named valedictorian (Rogers) and salutatorian (Perkins) at the end of their eight-grade year.

“Just from then on, we kind of hoped to maintain that,” Perkins said on a recent weekday morning.

Their hopes became a reality four years later as the two girls held onto their unofficial title from four years ago by making it official and graduating from Zephyr High School as its top two students.

“Ever since [eighth grade] it’s been my goal,” said Rogers, class valedictorian, who will be one of 20 graduates receiving their diploma Friday evening.

Both girls will attend Tarleton State University in the fall as incoming freshmen but will enroll into different programs. Rogers will major in biomedical science and go pre-dental. The 18-year-old added she has “always wanted to be in the medical field” and is considering pursuing a career as a pediatric dentist or dental hygienist.

Perkins, class salutatorian, will study agribusiness. The 17-year-old said she comes from a “very ag family,” and has raised and shown lambs “since I can walk.”

Perkins has lived in the same house in Zephyr since she was born. Though her move to Stephenville is just about an hour up the road, she admits it’ll still be “kind of scary.”

“I haven’t known anything different. There is definitely some anxiety. I’m nervous being on my own but I’m prepared for what comes my way,” said Perkins, who added she plans to stay in touch with her graduating class and communicate with her family often.

Rogers will enroll into the honors program at Tarleton State, where she expects to be surrounded by about 20 other classmates, or basically her entire high school graduating class. After moving to Zephyr from Austin in the sixth grade, she admitted her motivation toward her No. 1 ranking stemmed from a failed English class in junior high.

“It opened my eyes,” said Rogers, who said she’d miss athletics. “I told myself, ‘Hey, you need to get on track and get organized.’”

Perkins said though she’ll miss the support and the “tight community” of her hometown, she is looking forward to making lifelong friends.