• Senior Spotlight: Anamie and Analiza Whittlesey, Apex High

    Anamie and Analiza Whittlesey

  • The Whittlesey twins, Anamie and Analiza, made a lasting impression at Apex High School. They were born in the Philippines, adopted into a large family, and moved to the United States 15 years ago. With support from their family, teachers, and coaches, Anamie and Analiza have excelled inside and outside the classroom. Anamie played basketball, softball, and flag football, and was inspired by her work with special needs students to pursue a career as a special education teacher. Analiza has played four varsity sports: basketball, softball, track, and wrestling, becoming a member of Apex High’s first-ever women’s wrestling team. She hopes to pursue a career as a dietitian to encourage others to live healthy lifestyles.

    Principal Elaine Hofmann says students at Apex High are encouraged to be “PEAK” - Prepared, Engaged, Ambitious, and Kind. “I can't think of two students who embody these traits better than Analiza and Anamie,” Hofmann says. “I have had the immense privilege of watching these sisters grow into incredibly compassionate, hardworking, and focused young ladies since the 6th grade. I couldn't be more PEAKProud of who they have become and the undoubted success they will have once they leave Apex High.” The support and encouragement they have received throughout high school have instilled in them a strong desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others. As they look ahead to the future, Anamie and Analiza are committed to pursuing careers that will allow them to give back to their communities.

    Whittlesey twins with Principal Hofmann

  • Anamie Whittlesey

    Anamie's determination and love for sports and school clubs kept her going through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

    She played softball, basketball, and flag football. After some encouragement from friends in 9th grade, she became active in many clubs.

    She joined the National Honor Society and National Tech Honor Society, but she found her true calling in supporting her fellow students with special needs.

    She became active in Project Unify, a club that supports students with special needs. She also took a Student Leadership class, where she had the opportunity to help teach a class of special needs students, including creating games she taught her students.

    "That was definitely one of my big moments at Apex High, because that class helped with my career,” Anamie says. “I want to be a special education teacher.”

    Student Leadership Teacher Charli Leto says Anamie is a natural in the classroom.

    “She quickly developed relationships with all the students,” she says. Anamie is one of the most kind, caring, and patient students I have worked with. She was creative in her approach to trying to come up with new games to meet the needs of the students, and our buddies looked forward to seeing and working with her. If Anamie decides to pursue a career in special education, she will have a positive impact on those she works with.”

    Anamie Whittlesey


    Athletics and adversity

    Anamie was a member of the softball team that won the 2023 state championship, the first for a Wake County team. She also played basketball and was captain of the first flag football team during her senior year. 

    Though she had many successes, perhaps the most significant lesson came from the lowest moment of her athletic career. Two years ago, she suffered an injury during basketball season that forced her out of competition for eight months. 

    Leto, who also coached the basketball team, encouraged Anamie to stay involved and to help coach her teammates even though she could not play. It was a positive - though humbling - experience, and she learned how important it was to be there for her team in a different way.

    Anamie Whittlesey

    “Anamie is one of the hardest-working student athletes I have ever taught and coached,” Leto said. “Her perseverance in the face of adversity was second to none, and she worked so hard to be ready to play softball the following year. Even though she was injured for the rest of the basketball season, Anamie was our biggest cheerleader and leader off the court and played an integral role for our team despite her setback. I also had the opportunity to coach her in Wake County's first inaugural flag football season, where she was a captain, leader, and a crucial part of our team's success. She has been a top-notch student athlete all four years at Apex High School, and I can't wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future.”

    Anamie said, “What I've learned through high school and during sports is always to have fun and leave it on the field. When I graduate, I want to leave everything in high school knowing that I did it not just on my own but with teachers right next to me, helping me through the challenges I faced in school.”

Future teacher

After graduating high school, Anamie will attend Wake Technical Community College and enter the teacher preparation program. After two years, she hopes to transfer to NC State University. Anamie was accepted into the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) Future Teachers Program. Future Teachers is a four-year professional development curriculum that recruits WCPSS students to become teachers in the district. Anamie attributes much of her success to the lessons she learned from her supportive family, teachers, and her faith. “I want to say a huge thanks to my parents. They always motivate me not just to be a great athlete and student but also to stay humble no matter the situation.”

  • Analiza Whittlesey

    Analiza, a four-sport athlete, is naturally active. So she couldn’t help but be struck by the number of people who just wanted to hunker down at home during the pandemic.

    "That really hit me,” she says.

    So much so that it inspired Analiza’s career path.

    “I want to be a dietitian,” she says. “I want to live a healthy life. I'm seeing numbers for those who are overweight, and I know that the U.S. struggles with obesity.”

    Analiza Whittlesey

    ‘Inspiration to us all’

    Analiza excelled as an athlete, captaining the basketball team, playing an integral role in the softball team’s state championship, competing in five track events, and even taking the courageous step of joining the school’s first women’s wrestling team.

    She was encouraged to join by Coach Britt Morton, who had been her weight training coach since freshman year and was tapped to lead the new women’s wrestling team.

    She was hesitant at first. She’d played basketball and softball since the age of 6, but this was new. Morton's encouragement and support convinced her to try it. 

    Morton helped Analiza with her training and supported her in her academic pursuits. When she interviewed for college scholarships and the opportunity to join a college wrestling team, he helped her prepare and encouraged her to believe in herself. The entire athletic department rallied around Analiza, and she earned a scholarship to join the women’s wrestling team at Montreat College.

    “Analiza is the true representative of Apex Athletics,” Morton says. “She is a hard worker, humble, and kind. She puts her teammates before herself and does whatever she can for the team. She is a true leader and inspiration to us all.”

    Analiza Whittlsey

    Anamie Whittlesey

    Off the field

    Teacher Joshua Verb also praised Analiza for activities outside of athletics.

    Along with her twin sister, she participated in the National Honor Society, National Tech Honor Society, Project Unify, and the community service organization Love Wake. Analiza is also part of the National Science Honor Society.

    Analiza credits her teachers, coaches, and family with supporting her growth and plans for the future.

    Verb says: "Her athletic success, as well as her willingness to help others, speaks volumes about the type of person she is and what she hopes to accomplish in her lifetime."

Next steps

Analiza will attend Montreat College in the fall, where she will be a member of the women’s wrestling team and the first in her family to play a college-level sport. Analiza knows that the support of her mentors and peers during high school was invaluable. Looking back on her time at Apex High School, Analiza knows she has grown as a student, athlete, and person. “Along with my coach, my parents are the best role models in my life. They are my biggest cheerleaders, and despite having busy schedules, they both show up and support my sister and me. They are the best gifts I could ever receive,” said Analiza.

  • The Whittlesey twins with coaches.