TYLER, Texas — John Tyler's valedictorian and salutatorian have more in common than just good grades, there is something special between the two.

Besides being the top two students in their class, Josue Gaona and Jose Romero are cousins. 

“I just want to tell all my classmates that they should strive to be the light among their peers or their co-workers whether they go to college or enter the labor force right away," Valedictorian Josue Gaona said. "Just try and be the example and lead wherever they go.” 

Josue and Jose have battled to be the best students in their class and now that it is over, they took some time to reflect on their time in high school. 

“The fact that we're related and that we grew up together. It just makes it a little bit better, you know?" Salutatorian Jose Romero said. "To not just have a friend but also someone you're related to.” 

Josue is planning on attending UT Tyler before going to medical school to become a surgeon. Jose is going to UC San Diego to study biology.