"Letter grades and numbers don't mean anything if you aren't having fun," Devon Lee tells PEOPLE
Genius certainly runs in this New York family!
17-year-old twin brothers Devon and Dylan Lee will graduate from Herricks High School in New Hyde Park as valedictorian and salutatorian this spring, according to the school. Another impressive accomplishment? Their sister Jeylin was valedictorian of the class of 2023.
Even though the brothers are being honored for their academic excellence, they tell PEOPLE that their high school experience was about way more than just getting good grades.
"Over the course of high school, I learned the value of knowing yourself and your needs," Dylan says. "I spent a lot of time hanging out with friends, playing volleyball, and playing music rather than solely focusing on grades and other expectations."
"It's all about balance," adds Devon. "Hold yourself accountable and learn about yourself what you need to really learn. Letter grades and numbers don't mean anything if you aren't having fun. Whether it's playing video games with friends, messing around on the piano, or just taking lots of breaks, I made sure that I was happy with who I am."
School officials called Devon’s “journey to valedictorian honors” a “testament to hard work and unwavering commitment not only to his academics, but also the community.”
“He showcases his academic expertise through the successful completion of Spanish 5 AP through the Language Immersion Program and in enrolling in the most challenging courses offered at Herricks High School,” the school said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Meanwhile, officials also commended Dylan for “displaying focus and determination as he tackles his rigorous course load while taking on a multitude of extracurricular pursuits.”
In addition to their education, the Lees have been active in extracurricular school activities as members of Herricks' volleyball team, which won back-to-back championships.
The brothers also love to perform music, and according to the school, are both avid runners who compete in 10Ks, half-marathons, and full marathons.
All that hard work is paving the way for Devon to attend Cornell University, while Dylan is headed to Yale University.
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When asked what the secret to their success was, Dylan told ABC affiliate WABC. "Our parents always [valued] education and always pushed us to try our best. So even if we were to fail, all they ask of us is to try our best."
“Like most of the experiences that I encounter,” Devon added, “I tackle them with an open mind and I'm ready to learn from everyone.”
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Read the original article on People.