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IHC’s class leaders headed to UPenn, share unbreakable bond

pWATERTOWN — The bond between Marialena Mouaikel and Dominic K. Duah goes beyond a typical friendship./ppThe two met through their mothers, Dr. Marlene Mouaikel and Dr. Marylene Duah, who grew up in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War. The war divided the country between Muslims and Christians, with over 120,000 reported fatalities. /ppEven as their country was torn apart, Marlene and Marylene stayed focused and completed medical school./pp“The medical school was on the Muslim side, so they would literally have to walk across to that side with their white coats up and books over their heads while there were snipers shooting over them,” Marialena said./ppThe mothers then searched for residency programs outside of Lebanon and both landed in the north country, where Marialena and Dominic were born./ppAfter several years in Gouverneur, both families made their way to Watertown./pp“We were destined to be best friends, way before birth,” Marialena said./ppNow years later, Marialena and Dominic will be graduating from Immaculate Heart Central School on Saturday as the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. /ppThey both have participated in practically any extracurricular activities offered./ppMarialena was a member of the senior high bi-county chorus, president of the Performing Arts Club and member of Stage Notes. She also was the founder and editor in chief of the school newspaper, student body president, student council vice president and a member of the Society of Torch and Laurel and National Honor Society. She was also council chair for the Northern New York Community Foundation Philanthropy Council./ppIn addition, Marialena has received several academic and choral awards, as well as being crowned Miss Thousand Islands Teen in 2017./ppDominic served as captain for the varsity soccer team, was named Frontier League All Star and was selected for the 2018 All North soccer team. Dominic also received the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Section III Scholar Athlete Award for soccer, basketball and lacrosse./ppDominic was also student body representative, vice president of the newspaper and a member of the National Honor Society, Performing Arts Club, Science Club, Faith Community Service and patriotism committee./ppMarialena accumulated an academic average of 98.440, with Dominic just slightly behind her with an average of 97.875. /ppThose scores or achievements wouldn’t have happened without the help of one another, the class leaders both admitted./pp“We would help each other out, not shoot each other down,” Dominic said./ppLuckily, the friends can keep their light-hearted rivalry alive after graduation, as they are both headed to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. Dominic will be majoring in mathematics and Marialena will be double-majoring in economics and cinema and media studies./ppThey had other schools in mind at first, but when they both got into the university — which has a 9 percent acceptance rate — they realized they are destined to stay close./pp“All the humdrum stuff is more fun with him,” Marialena said./p


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