11 sets of twins enliven Davidsonville school

January 17, 1995|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

Teachers at Davidsonville Elementary knew they were seeing double a lot, but didn't realize just how often until fifth-graders David and Malory Burgess arrived this year.

That's when Principal Jeanne Paglee started counting: 11 sets of twins, with at least one set in each grade from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Board of Education administrators say they've never heard of so many sets of twins in one county school.

"No, I don't think it's the water," said Mrs. Paglee, chuckling. The school's problems with its well system are notorious. "It's just coincidence. We were always saying 'Which one are you,' but we didn't count up until the Burgess twins got here."

In addition to the Burgess twins, the school has five other sets of fraternal twins: Ashley and Robert Baumann in kindergarten; Christina and Nicholas Manthos in first grade; Gilbert and Sarah Costa in third grade; and Katie and Thomas Redmiles in fourth grade. Brandi and Jacquelyn Marshall, also in fourth grade, look nearly identical but swear they aren't. "We are NOT identical," said Brandi, "but I don't remember why."

"Her face is oval, and mine is round; that's how to tell the difference," says Jackie.

The school also has five sets of identical twins: Brittany and Kristina Lambert in second grade; Kyle and Ryan O'Connor, and Alison and Sara LaBlanc in third grade; Rachel and Sarah Frank in third grade; and Eric and Stephen Heup in fifth grade.

To show the twins how special they are, Mrs. Paglee declared January "Twins Month."

Based on the suggestion of school secretary Jan Ackley, the twins have been taking turns doing the morning news, broadcast to every classroom on WDES (Davidsonville Elementary School), Channel 65.

"I was excited about Twins Month," said Eric Heup, in his second year at Davidsonville. "I've never been to a school that had so many twins before. It feels kind of good." Last summer, he saw hundreds of twins when his parents took him and his brother to Twinsburg, Ohio, for the annual Twins Festival in which 2,500 sets of twins competed in a look-a-like contest.

The Heups' mother, Roxanne, said having twins is great. What's amusing, she said, is that the two boys look so much alike, "they can't pick themselves out in a photograph, unless they happen to remember what they were wearing that day."

"People always said it would be double trouble," Mrs. Heup said with a smile. "When they are trouble, it's more than double trouble. What I find interesting is they're in the same class, but they each come home with a totally different concept of an assignment."

Stephen Heup said the best part of being a twin -- and in the same class at Davidsonville -- "is we get to fool our teachers."

"Sometimes we switch seats and wait until the end of class to see if they've noticed. Last year we tried it, but someone told the teacher," he said. "The most frequently asked question? 'What's it like to be a twin?' "

Being a twin is "confusing," said Brandi Marshall. Sometimes her mother can't tell the two girls apart, she said.

Thomas Redmiles' response to Twins Month and a record number of twins at the school?

"Well, we're so famous," he said, spreading his arms wide.

Thomas and sister Katie are used to the fuss: Their mother is a twin, and their 16-year-old brother and sister are twins, too.

And hardly anyone in Davidsonville batted an eye when they heard that Mary Beth Sullivan of Millersville had quadruplets last year. She started her teaching career at Davidsonville Elementary.

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