by Blake Herzog
Nick and Andrew De Lapp, who graduated from the Casa Grande campus of ASU Preparatory Academy in May, are identical twins who embodied both aspects of the campus as they earned their identical 4.8 GPAs that landed them as co-valedictorians.
“The reason it was so similar was because we took basically the same classes, because we both were pushing ourselves to take as many academic opportunities as possible. And then we just both ended up, we excelled in the courses and ended up with basically the same grades,” Andrew says.
The brothers, 18, thrived within the innovative academic program while practicing and playing as students of the Barca Residency Academy USA, the only North American training school operated by the iconic FC Barcelona soccer club and the site of the ASU Prep campus, adjacent to Grande Sports World on the western edge of the city.
Andrew says, “We started when we were around 4 or so when we would play for a little soccer team that our dad would coach. And then we just kept getting better and better and then moved out to Arizona to play with Barca.” They started as sophomores after the pandemic affected their school schedule at home in Leesville, Louisiana, he says.
They spent as many as 15 hours a week practicing and playing soccer on top of their rigorous academic schedule but were able to volunteer during their junior and senior years, primarily at Catalysts Helping Increase Potential (CHIP), which aids people transitioning out of homelessness.
Nick, who is the elder brother by two minutes, said they helped set up groups of their classmates to work with the faith-based nonprofit distributing food and handling other duties.
“I really enjoy making a positive impact on people’s lives, and with Barca that was setting up the excursions so that some of the kids could not only improve their resumes, but also help out organizations in Casa Grande that are making a difference,” Nick says.
Their father, mother, uncle and several other relatives have pursued medical careers and both plan to follow their surgeon dad’s footsteps. Nick intends to be an orthopedic surgeon like their dad while Andrew is leaning toward neurosurgery.
Both are headed in the fall to Macalester College in Minnesota on soccer scholarships, where Andrew will play as a winger and Nick as center back. Both would consider going pro if the right opportunity came along but are mainly gearing themselves for medical school.
That’s the point where they say their paths will likely diverge due to the low odds of getting into the same school.
“I know that it’ll probably happen one day where we separate, but we’re just enjoying things right now,” Andrew says.
Nick adds, “At the end of the day, we both know that, we’ll take the best opportunity that ends up coming up for us and that’ll likely change in medical school.”
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