Lapeer East High School sent Kettering University a gift in 2000 -- two students who are now "sophomore superstars."
Eric Ernst, 19, and Shaun Carrithers, 19, came to Kettering as accomplished athletes from Lapeer. Both are doing well academically despite a tough Mechanical Engineering curriculum and both joined the same fraternity - Delta Tau Delta.
Some say the roommates even look like brothers. About the only difference these days is Carrithers works at a co-op at General Motors in Pontiac while Ernst's co-op experience is currently at Donnelly Electronics in Grand Blanc.
What's the secret of being closer than brothers for years? "We don't try," said Ernst. "It just falls together."
"It does take understanding," Carrithers added. "How can anyone know what's going on in another person's day? It takes a good balance with friends, girlfriends, family, school " all of it."
"We're both fortunate to be here at Kettering," continued Carrithers. "Our friends who went to public universities don't have the co-op opportunities we're enjoying. GM is a really cool place to have a co-op," he said, teasing Ernst to switch to GM.
There's been plenty of teasing between these two. Both were top athletes at Lapeer East High School, where Ernst was captain of the varsity soccer and baseball teams. Carrithers was captain of the varsity basketball and tennis teams. "We did have quite a class at Lapeer East," Ernst said. "The Class of 2000 was a strong one."
Less than two years later, the Lapeer duo are drawing acclaim from faculty members like Chemistry Professor Reg Bell, who considers them "superstars." "They are two of the finest students I've ever met," Bell said.
And like a dynamic high school duo, they've moved into college with the same zeal. Ernst is a member of Phi Eta Sigma freshman honorary, Kappa Mu Epsilon math honor society and Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering honor society. He also works at Kettering's Recreation Center. Ernst was elected vice president of Pi Tau Sigma.
Carrithers is focused on campus service. He has been elected sophomore class representative for student government and is public relations chairman for their fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.
And both have remained active athletically, recently helping the Delt team win Kettering's intramural basketball championship.
"We are well on our way to come out of here with very good academic standing," Carrithers said. "I'd definitely like to pursue an MBA at a school with the same prestige as Kettering, such as Harvard or Stanford. With the knowledge we will obtain at Kettering University, the sky is the limit."
Ernst's plans are more decided. "I'd like to get my master's from Kettering and pursue an MBA at an Ivy League school."
Not surprisingly, they'd both like to participate in the University's Study Abroad program and are planning to study in Germany during the fall of 2003 " together.
"Kettering throws so much work at you in 11 weeks. You learn how to handle the workload," Ernst said. Added Carrithers, "We're trained to deal with the tough situations. All it takes are good skills."
Sounds like a good philosophy of life, too.
Written by Pat Mroczek