A pair of twin sisters -- one of whom is a young mom -- will graduate at the top of their class at D.C.'s H.D. Woodson High School this week.
It's an achievement that seemed improbable when Rickay Thompson became pregnant as a sophomore. But on Wednesday, she rehearsed her valedictory speech Wednesday as her toddler son played at her feet.
"I kind of did just want to fall back and take time for me and my child, but I knew he wouldn't have the best if I chose that route," she said.
Today, her son, Noah, is thriving, and her sister, Mickay, is the school's salutatorian. Both girls will speak at the graduation ceremony Friday for their Northeast D.C. school.
In her speech, Mickay will tell her fellow students to stay focused: "All great achievements require time," she plans to say.
"My message is that you can always grow from what you are or what you have," she said.
As the sisters practiced their speeches an in almost-empty auditorium, it was hard not to reflect on the journey.
"I come from a low-budget area where I live on public housing," Mickay said, "but I did not let that stop me and I did not let that make me feel like any less of myself."
Both girls earned a GPA above 4.0 and will study pre-law at George Mason University next year. "I love the campus; it's awesome," Mickay said. "And the people there too."
Rickay said that the challenges she's faced have made her stronger.
"I'm really thankful for all the opportunities that I have had, all of the obstacles that came my way," she said, "because now I know that I am strong enough, that I can fight through anything I just put my mind to."