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Twins Graduate First, Second From Dallas High School

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Steve Pickett
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At their birth, Matthew and James Madison were separated by five minutes.

As they prepare to graduate, the twins are side by side at the top of their class.

James graduated as Valedictorian, and Matthew as Salutatorian.

While the teens’ academic accomplishments are significant, where they found success is just as important.

The boys’ parents made a conscious decision to leave the suburban Tarrant County school district of Birdville, to enroll them in Madison High, a school sitting in one of Dallas’ poorest neighborhoods.

“Diversity. They needed diversity,” explained Menique Hopkins, the boys’ mother. “They needed strong black role models in their life.  Just like their father.”

The Madison’s wanted their sons to find something in South Dallas, that was lacking in Birdville ISD.

James and Matthew say they felt the difference the first day they walked into Madison High four years ago.

“I think it was the culture of the school,” said James. It gave more support overall.”

“Previously, in middle school, I wished I had more support from teachers,” added Matthew. “So, coming here, you could feel the difference.”

Matthew and James were already leading the pack academically before they arrived at Madison. However, their parents felt the school transfer would offer a value not found at their previous campus.

“We’re not a movement. We just moved our kids where they were comfortable,” said Menique.  “I’m very proud, very proud of everything they’ve accomplished.”

The Madison’s say they searched several school districts for a more diverse, supportive teacher corps for their boys before settling on Madison High near Fair Park.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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