The schools are located on opposite sides of town and have developed a rivalry over the years, but Whittier Tech and Haverhill High seniors shared similar reflections as they graduated last week.
Whittier Class of 2012 numbered 320 and Haverhill's 362 students.
"Whittier is all about finding the subject," said Whittier's senior class president, Dan Muise. "Since our interview in 8th grade and our decision to enroll at a technical vocational high school, we've been in the process of finding that subject.
Haverhill High senior Meghan Cokely noted that Haverhill High allowed her not only to achieve her own goals but also gave her an opportunity to affect others.
"Haverhill High put me in a position to be a role model," Cokely said. "I was able to help teach a history class to underclassmen, and I could see the kids really looking up to me."
Both graduates mentioned the proud the took in seeing their classes bond to accomplish their goals.
"We had great leadership and motivation," said Cokely. "We focused intently on community service. We didn't have to pay any senior dues because of the fundraising we all did."
"Whatever shop we were from or whatever we have been involved in," Muise said, "we all have become light years closer to that one right subject."
Strong majorities of graduates of both school have higher education plans: 70 percent of Whittier's Class of 2012 and 78 percent of Haverhill's. Twenty-seven percent of Whittier grads plan to join the workforce, while 3 percent of both school's classes will be going into the military.
At awards banquets prior to the graduations, 83 Haverhill High were honored for academic and athletic excellence. Another 34 students also received awards and scholarships.
Sixty-one Whittier seniors graduated as members of the National Vocational Technical Honor Society. More than 90 Whittier students earned John and Abigail Adams scholarships for their high-ranking performance on the MCAS. The state-awarded scholarships cover the cost of tuition at a state college or university.
Both Cokely and Muise will represent their schools at four-year colleges. Cokely will major in biology and criminal justice at Simmons College. She will also play tennis for Simmons. Muise will attend University of Mass Lowell to study chemical engineering, with a focus on nanotechnology.