Siblings attend the same school with varying degrees of appreciation, but you can put San Marino High School senior Dahlys Ang and her freshman sister, Rakel, at the happy top of that list. An old adage claims that familiarity breeds contempt, but it seems the opposite for Dahlys (pronounced like the city) and Rakel (as in Welch).
Despite their age difference, the two spend a great deal of time together on campus. Both are on the staff of the school’s Titan Shield newspaper, where Dahlys is co-editor and Rakel serves as a photographer and reporter. And once the final bell rings at 3 o’clock, they reunite on the courts where both are members of the Lady Titan girls’ varsity tennis team.
In between, they occasionally meet up at Link Crew events (Dahlys is a leader and Rakel a newbie in the campus mentorship program) and ACTS, an on-campus Christian club. It all adds up to a year-long experience the sisters will no doubt treasure when graduation arrives all too soon in June.
Though many are annoyed by the occasional presence of a younger sibling, Dahlys has nothing but praise for her younger sister and sometimes doubles partner.
“I admire Rakel’s ability to work hard for the things she wants in life,” Dahlys said. “She sets goals for herself and follows them through to the end, which is often easier said than done. She is also a very caring person. We’ve gotten closer this year being on the tennis team and in Titan Shield together and she is always there to listen to me rant about anything and everything. She’s truly one of my best friends and I’m thankful I get to share my last year at SMHS with her.”
The feeling travels on a two-way street.
“It is difficult to express in words what I admire about Dahlys, but she is loyal, has great strength of character, and tries to do what is right,” Rakel said. “I know she will be loyal to me, and to those around her. Dahlys tries to be kind, considerate, and caring to the people around her. She doesn’t follow the crowd and really tries to do what’s best. Bottom line, I am honored to be called her sister.”
The mutual admiration society extends to the tennis courts.
“I love playing doubles with Rakel,” Dahlys said. “We have very different styles which is the best combination for a good doubles team because my strengths are Rakel’s weaknesses and vice versa. She is a very aggressive player. She goes for her shots, hits pretty hard, and takes risks more often than I do. She also plays forehand which is good since I prefer backhand. I’m a more consistent player.”
“I love playing doubles with Dahlys because I know she always has my back,” said the other. “I know her shots and her style and she knows mine so we can both play freely and go for our shots. I have a special connection with her because she is my sister, and one of my best friends, and therefore our chemistry as doubles partners is very strong. I admire the way Dahlys plays tennis, because she is driven to work hard and get better. She plays hard not only for herself, but her partner and her team. She also is a great sport and shows integrity while she plays.”
That relationship paid off a few years back when the sisters were playing in a tournament.
“We were down 1-5,” Dahlys recalled. “I remember telling Rakel ‘let’s make a comeback,’ half jokingly, knowing we were about to lose the set. She responded with a similar ‘yeah, we can do it,’ knowing how unrealistic that was. We ended up winning the next 12 games in a row and the match by a final score of 7-5, 6-0.”
Parents Nancy and George Ang have another daughter, Bethany, who is a 7th grader at Huntington Middle School and also plays the family sport. George also played all four years at Alhambra High School and intramurals at UCLA.
“He loves the sport so much and he is the driving force behind the fact that all three of his daughters play tennis,” Dahlys said. “Mom does not, but the other four of us will sometimes play doubles on the weekend. Right now, our time is split with Bethany playing on the middle school team and Rakel and I playing for SMHS. We are a tennis family.”
Dahlys and Rakel aren’t always joined at the hip. Independently, Rakel is a member of Future Business Leaders of America, the Freshmen Advisory Board and Science Club and Dahlys solos in the Refugees for America Club.
But one gets the sense that even when Dahlys and Rakel aren’t together, they’re never very far apart.