Twins N-Merit finalists

Delahunts set to end their FHS careers with unique academic record

Farragut High School seniors Katherine “Katy” Delahunt, left, and identical twin Anna Delahunt, will graduate Saturday, May 19, among the top of their class.
As twins, Katherine “Katy” and Anna Delahunt, of course, have a bond like no other — but they also have a unique academic distinction likely unsurpassed in Farragut High School’s history.

The two will graduate May 19 with honors, which include being National Merit finalists; having grade point averages hovering around 4.6; numerous awards and scholarships; and a perfect ACT score of 36 for Katy, and a near-perfect 35 for Anna.

Their incredible and long-standing academic feats amaze their parents, Paul and Lee Ann Delahunt.

“We do not know where they came from, but we know they are ours,” joked Paul, who then added seriously, “they are so much better than we are.”

“Their father and I just didn’t take academics so seriously, but they were talking about colleges in the eighth grade,” Lee Ann said.

Both girls and their parents credit a love for reading and learning that led them to where they are today.

“When we were younger, all we did was read. It is all we were interested in,” Anna said.

“That is true,” agreed their father. “They started reading almost immediately. When they were very small, I would read to them, and they would notice if I left anything out, even thought they were not yet reading on their own.

“It was just amazing.”

“I got some advice (from a family member) when I was pregnant, which was ‘read to them. Read to them in your belly, read to them before they understand. And they have both been really huge readers.

“They really excelled in school because they read all the time,” she continued. “(Whem they were little) I might go to the hair dresser for two hours, and they would spend all of that time just reading and reading and reading.”

Taking away their books was the only way the girls received effective punishment.

“If we ever got in trouble, we got our books taken away,” Anna said.

“Not that they ever really got into much trouble,” Paul Delahunt said.

Katy said their affinity for the written word put them at the top of their classes almost immediately.

“Back then it is how you were evaluated, based on your reading,” Katy said. “So we were singled out pretty early on.”

Lee Ann Delahunt said it also was very early on that Katy came home and enthusiastically reported she “had to do her homework.”

“It was incredible,” she said. “So many children might complain about that very thing, but they were excited about it.”

They never lost that enthusiasm through their school years. Lee Ann said both Katy and Anna have studied constantly, even as they added extracurricular activities, volunteered, and even added cross-country to the mix.

“I had to wake (Anna) up one night, where she had fallen asleep on the couch studying, and she insisted she had been ‘studying with her eyes closed.’”

Both Katy and Anna are very close, but admit to a thread of competitiveness down through the years, which in middle school resulted in a brief shoving match during a run.

“Neither one of us wanted to be the slower one,” Anna said, and acknowledged they did “get in trouble for that.”

But it seemed to be a watershed moment for the two, as they went on to be competitive in more of a supportive way.

“As we matured, we realize our competitiveness just makes us better, and we enjoy working together, rather than against each other,” Katy said.

“Now, we are happy for each other in our accomplishments.”

They also are not ones to brag on their acheivements.

“There are a lot of people smarter than we are,” Anna said. “We have just tred our best.”

“Farragut is very competitive,” Katy said. “We really have worried less about our class rankings, rather than being happy for everyone who does well.”

Although they have been together every step of their lives, Katy and Anna will be parting this fall, when they go to separate colleges.

Anna will be attending Clemson University, where she will study biochemistry in preparation for a career in pharmaceutical research, while Katy has chosen Fordham University in New York City, where she will study global business.

They say they are ready to go out on their own.

“It will be hard, but I think it will be OK,” Anna said. “Now, we really depend on each other, but I think it will be good for us to be completely independent.”

Their parents are excited for them too, but also are understandably sad at the prospect of losing their only children to college at the same time.

“To lose both of them at once, it’s terrible,” their father said. “They are our lives. And I think it will be hard on them too — they have never been apart more than a few hours.”

“It is sad (for us), but also exciting, and I am glad they are (getting out on their own and doing it),” Lee Ann said.

Katy and Anna said they are grateful for the education they have received.

“The Farragut schools and community have been so good at fostering success and at supporting education, and we are just so grateful to have had the opportunities we have had,” Anna said.

“Farragut has been the best place to grow up,” Katy agreed.

“You can see (that dedication) reflected in the number of National Merit finalists, and how Farragut stands out among the clubs, and the ACT scores,” Anna said.

“It has also been very diverse, and allowed us to see a lot of different perspectives,” Katy added.

“I wouldn’t want to have gone to school anywhere else.”