Erin Fitzpatrick went wire to wire.
Bridgette Devlin had to make up some ground.
Both should be extremely proud.
Fitzpatrick and Devlin have been friends for as long as they can remember. Both grew up in Rhawnhurst, attended Pelbano preschool and Resurrection for grade school. And now they’ll go down in history at St. Hubert High School.
Fitzpatrick is ranked No. 1 in her graduating class. Devlin is one spot behind. Both have been stars in the classroom, obviously, but they’ve been just as successful in other areas.
It’s not easy being the top student in a tough school like St. Hubert, but they worked for it. And even better, they worked together.
“We work together,” said Fitzpatrick, the valedictorian who is bound for Temple University in the fall. “We push each other to do well. We have a lot of classes together, so we work together. We’ve always worked together the best we can. We help each other, but that’s really everyone at St. Hubert’s.”
“We’ve been friends since grade school together, even before that,” said Devlin, the salutatorian who will attend Coastal Carolina. “I think we helped motivate each other and she was someone if you had any questions, I could ask her. We’ve always been friendly and we were very close at the end of grade school. We’re still very close friends.”
The duo were truly stars in high school.
Fitzpatrick is graduating with a 4.0 and has been the top student in the school since freshman year when rankings came out. She’s been very consistent throughout school, clocking in with a lowest grade of 95.
Devlin had some catching up to do. Although she’s always been a great student, she was ranked 13 during her freshman year, bumped up to ninth as a sophomore and then stayed No. 2 for her junior and senior year. Her lowest-ever grade was an 89, and that occurred during the first marking period of freshman year. Since then, it’s been all 90s.
“It’s probably my biggest accomplishment so far, by far,” Devlin said. “At first when I first started, I didn’t think about this. I didn’t care about my rank. Once I realized I was pretty close, I wanted to see how low I could get my rank. I’m proud to be second, especially because I know how smart Erin is.”
Fitzpatrick is more than just smart.
As is Devlin.
Fitzpatrick has been a member of the very successful Bambies cheerleading team and is a member of Athletes Helping Athletes. She also works at Pelbano Rec Center. During the summer, she’s a camp counselor and during the school year, she works in the after-care program.
Devlin stays busy, too. She’s a member of the Hubert’s swim team, specializing in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley. She’s also the president of the National Honor Society, on the track team and a member of the Bambies ambassador program. She also worked at the Pretzel Factory and this summer will hold a job at CVS in North Wildwood.
They got a lot of their accolades for what they do in the classroom, but they both get rave reviews from their coaches.
“(Erin) started coming to the St. Hubert cheerleading clinics when she was younger,” said Bambies coach Lisa McNesby. “She’s mature, responsible, ambitious and loves St. Hubert. It’s evident she loves St. Hubert based on all of the activities she is involved with. I don’t think I know anyone who was more involved in high school than Erin.
“I am not sure where she finds the time to participate in so many things and still stay on top academically. She has that kind of drive you wish all kids had. The results she has had through academics and athletics speak for themselves, she’s a two-time national champion.
“I am fortunate to see other sides of Erin that may not be as obvious to others. She worked at our summer cheerleading camps and clinics and was the most patient and kind leader. The younger cheerleaders just adored her and the way she could take control of a large group of 5-year-olds was amazing.”
Devlin’s coach was just as proud.
“She’s so driven and passionate about everything she does,” said swimming coach Annemarie Szambelak. “She was one of my captains and she always wanted to make sure the team was inclusive. Nobody was left out, everyone had a place. You have to admire that. Beyond the circumstances, she saw beyond the great swimmers and she did a great job leading the team.
“She has a drive. She had a drive in the pool, she had a drive in school. She always wanted to be better than she could. She never missed a practice. She would be there six or seven days a week. It’s tough. And for someone to manage that, she’s just a great kid.”
They should be just as successful next year.
Fitzpatrick has big plans next year. She had many offers, but ended up going to Temple because she was accepted into a prestigious physical therapy program. Sports got her looking at the field, and anatomy class at Hubert cemented the idea.
“I had problems with my knees when I was younger and I went to physical therapy, and it really helped me,” said Fitzpatrick, who will cheer at Temple. “I knew the whole time I wanted to go into the medical field, but after I took anatomy, I knew it. I know you can do a lot to help people in that job.”
Devlin is going a different route. An art enthusiast, she plans on majoring in business.
“I’m going in with business, but not sure which way I’m going with it,” Devlin said. “I really like art, it was probably my favorite class because I like being creative and I know in business you can use that creativity.”
School is over, and graduation will be held online on Wednesday, June 3, at 10 a.m. Both will give speeches. And then both will go on to their summer plans. But they’ll always fondly recall their days at St. Hubert.
It’s been a great four years for both of them, and they’ll miss it.
“It was a busy four years, but everyone is so helpful,” Devlin said. “I’ll miss it a lot.”
“The biggest thing I had to do during my four years was time management, you have to use your time well,” Fitzpatrick said. “I loved (Hubert’s) because I had so much help. I had great teachers, my parents and grandparents helped me a lot, and I had great coaches. I’m pretty determined, but whenever I needed help, they were there.
“I’m going to miss everything about it. My friends, the teachers. It was hard not being there the past few weeks, but we got through it together. It wasn’t the best, but we had to do it to keep people safe. I’m happy we did it together.”