HARLINGEN — They both want to be doctors.

It makes sense. They’re both at the top of their class at Harlingen High School South.

“I’m really excited,” said Christine Vega, salutatorian.

“I’m happy that all my hard work paid off and I got here,” said Christine, 17.

Same for Hunter Butler, this year’s valedictorian.

“I’ve worked really hard to get here and it’s just a high honor,” said Hunter, 17. “Christine was super good competition so honestly it was just awesome.”

Christine was surprised to learn of her ranking at the beginning of her senior year, but Hunter had his eyes on the top prize for quite a while.

“My freshman year I got my GPA for the first time and a class ring and I was number three and I didn’t know I could do that,” he said.

Reason being he hadn’t even been in the top 12 during middle school, so this revelation in ninth grade switched a light on in his head.

“That’s when I set that goal for myself, and it was like, ‘You know what, I can actually do this,’” he said. “It’s awesome.”

They both had rigorous study habits.

“I would go home and create my own flashcards, study cards,” she said. “I really took the initiative and I did everything myself and I wouldn’t wait for things to be given to me at the last minute.”

Being at the top doesn’t necessarily mean being the smartest, she pointed out.

“There are probably people that are super intelligent within the top 10 percent, but it just depends on how much effort you put into it,” she said.

She and Hunter are two people who put in the work.

“My study habits were not procrastinating,” Hunter said. “That’s really big, and then making flash cards, I love making flash cards. If you know the vocabulary for a subject, you know the subject.”

Hunter will be attending Texas A&M College Station to study biomedical science with the purpose of becoming a physician.

Christine wants to study biology at UTRGV and eventually become a radiologist.

Hunter Butler, valedictorian at Harlingen High School South

WHO: Hunter Butler

AGE: 17

WHAT: Valedictorian at Harlingen High School South

PARENTS: Dr. John Butler and Denise Butler

Christine Vega, this year’s salutatorian at Harlingen High School South

WHO: Christine Vega

AGE: 17

WHAT: Salutatorian at Harlingen High School South

PARENTS: Maria Gonzales and Alvin Vega