Three sisters, two graduations, one day

The Guiffre triplets have always done everything together, but they took it to hectic new heights Saturday when two graduated from McDaniel and one from Hood

May 22, 2010|By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

The Guiffre triplets did everything together growing up. They shared the same friends, went to the same parties and played the same sport, field hockey.

So it only made sense that the identical triplets from Frederick would all graduate from college on Saturday.

There was just one catch. Danielle and Juliann would cross the stage together at McDaniel College. But the third Guiffre, Ally, broke away from the triad to attend Hood College in Frederick.

Their mother, Patty Hardy, panicked when she realized that both colleges planned to hold their ceremonies on the same day. "I asked each one of the girls which one I should go to," she recalled with a laugh. "And they all said, 'Well, you should go to mine.'"

Once she learned that Ally would march on stage at 10 a.m. and the other two at 2 p.m., Hardy calculated that the whole family would be able to cover the 30 miles between Frederick and Westminster in time to catch both ceremonies. "As long as there's no accident or we don't get stuck behind a farm tractor," she said Friday.

McDaniel students Danielle and Juliann ducked out right after their sister's name was called at Hood so they'd be on time to robe up for their procession. As soon as the first graduation ended, the rest of the family, including Ally, piled into a caravan with bagged lunches in hand. They made it to McDaniel with 45 minutes to spare.

You might think the Guiffres have battled schedule conflicts since birth, but not so, according to their mother. "Honestly, this is the first time something like this has ever happened," she said. "I guess we're lucky we haven't had this for the whole 21 years."

The triplets are remarkably close. They have identical tattoos on their backs that read "three hearts, one soul."

Once, when Danielle fainted while observing a medical procedure in Westminster, Ally got dizzy at the same moment in Frederick. Danielle can't remember a day in her life when she didn't talk to at least one of her sisters.

"The bond we have is so close that it makes it almost impossible for us to be independent," Juliann said. "It's not some cheesy thing where we complete each other's sentences. But with Danielle, I always know what she's thinking, her motivations. It gets kind of annoying, actually, because you can never lie about what you want to do."

In high school, they grew irritated with friends who didn't bother to distinguish between their personalities. Some classmates eschewed their names and greeted them, "Hey triplet."

The Guiffres planned to strike out on different paths in college. Danielle and Juliann did not live together as freshmen at McDaniel, but by sophomore year they were back together. "We just have that comfort level," Juliann said.

Ally said she was glad to be the odd one out. "I probably would've killed them if we had stayed together," she said. "It's hard when no one views you as a separate person. At Hood, I'm just Ally."

All three sisters excelled academically.

Juliann graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a 4.0 average from McDaniel. She will work as a production assistant for the Discovery Channel and write freelance articles. Danielle graduated cum laude with a 3.7 average from McDaniel and plans to apply to medical school. Ally earned a 3.9 average at Hood and will teach at the Goddard School in Urbana, in Frederick County.

"Everybody has a J-O-B," their mother said with pride.

Though the sisters will all move back home at first, they know their career ambitions will probably take them to different places. All three said they're looking forward to greater independence and predicted that they will appreciate their bond more when they're apart.

"I think it's time for us to realize that we don't need to see each other as much," Ally said.

"There's definitely a bittersweet element," Danielle said of the coming transition. "Life is really easy when they're around."

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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