Raylene earned a 4.212 grade point average, and will be attending Stanford in the fall. Stephannie, who was very close behind with a 4.189 GPA, will attend UCLA with a full four-year scholarship.
Both are thinking about pursuing double majors and possible minors. They are driven, focused and naturally proud of their achievements.
But perhaps most remarkable is the camaraderie they share. Since their sophomore year the girls have developed a genuine friendship, unusual for two people competing for the academic equivalent of Olympic gold.
But to hear the girls tell it, their friendship has been the icing on a cake of sweet successes.
"We really have helped each other throughout the years," said Stephannie, who shared a number of advanced placement classes with Raylene. "Math is my strong subject, and English is one of Raylene's. So where one is weak the other was strong, and we would help each other. She's a great friend."
Raylene is equally complimentary. "I love Stephannie. She's so nice, and a good friend. I felt that if she won (valedictorian) it would be OK, because she's so deserving."
A matter of just a few tenths of a point separated the two girls academically, but both, according to Freedom Principal Eric Volta, are winners.
"These are not just smart students, they are all-around amazing girls," said Volta, a Stanford grad who admits to trying to teach Raylene the school's fight song. "Stephannie has done so much for the community. She's just so service-oriented, and Raylene has done more for this school in the past four years than anyone. They are just really neat kids. I'm very, very happy for them."
Both girls said they had their eyes on the top academic prize even before they entered high school. Attaining those honors has been one of their proudest moments. "For me it's the accomplishment of a goal," said Raylene. "And a testimony to the hard work I've put into school.
"The same is true for college. I have always wanted to go to Stanford since I was little. It's something I have dreamed of and worked toward, and now it's finally here."
While at Stanford, Raylene plans to pursue a double major in political science and economics. Her goal is to eventually study abroad and obtain her master's degree in international relations. She might also throw in a minor in Spanish for good measure.
"I've always enjoyed politics and business," said Raylene, who will also be a member of the Stanford cheerleading squad. "So I'm pretty clear about what I want to pursue."
Stephannie has a similar game plan, but with a slightly different focus.
"I'm thinking about majoring in biology and religion." She has her eye on a pre-med schedule. "I believe a doctor is a healer, and that there is a relationship between the two (religion and medicine) for sure. We'll see where it takes me."
For now, the girls are preparing to say goodbye to high school, and each other, as they prepare their commencement speeches for Saturday's graduation ceremonies. And like most grads, both are looking forward to the future.
"I'm glad to be done with high school and ready for college," said Stephannie, who added that she plans to spend the summer relaxing and reading. "I have worked very hard for a long time. I've had this goal and now it's finally here. I'm ready for the future."
"I'm excited and a little nervous too," said Raylene. "I'm going to miss knowing what's going on at my school all the time. Stanford is a very big campus, and I doubt I'll be able to keep up. But I'm ready to go, and I'm very grateful."