'It's a different ability': 2 Orlando middle schoolers with autism rank top 2 in graduating class

Two Orange County eighth-graders with autism are inspiring their classmates after graduating top of their class.

The superstars didn't even realize they were at the top of the class. 

Nick Menchaca and his classmate Miguel Torres graduated top two out of nearly 150 students at Renaissance Charter School in Orlando.

"I'm number one and he's number two," Torres said.

The duo was celebrated for their major accomplishments at graduation and for the differences that make them special. 

The students said autism makes them different – but not less than –  and their story is proof. 

"Autism is basically, in a nutshell – the mind works in a different way than like  a normal person," Torres said. "Autism is not a disability. You have to think of it as a different ability," Menchaca added. 

Jeanne Armbrust, an ESE teacher, has been their support teacher.

"Any children or adults with autism – just, let them try. Let them do it. Let them show you what they can do," Armbrust said. "A lot of children with autism or, a lot of children with disabilities, need for instance extra time. Sometimes, it's processing. You give them directions and it takes them five minutes to process that direction before they get started."

Armbrust watched as they earned every single grade, adding "because there's going to be a lot of people that don't believe this story."  

Torres said the headline shouldn't surprise you – but remind you: "If it was a disability we wouldn’t be on the news talking about how we’re number one," Torres said. 

As for life after school, Miguel said he'd like to work in tech when he grows up. Nick said he's into the arts.