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Seeing double: eight sets of twins attend Cayuse Prairie School

by HILARY MATHESON
Daily Inter Lake | February 5, 2023 12:00 AM

One set of twins attending the same school might be special but eight sets at a rural school with a total enrollment of about 300 students seems pretty remarkable.

These identical and non-identical twins attend Cayuse Prairie School, where it’s not the first time several sets have been enrolled at once in the kindergarten through eighth-grade school. Cayuse Prairie Principal Amy Piazzola recalled it happening at least once before. Leafing through a 2014-15 yearbook, Piazzola was surprised to count seven sets of twins.

This year, the twins are in grades third through seventh, and five of the eight sets have attended Cayuse Prairie since kindergarten.

What do the students like about being a twin?

“That we were born with a friend,” said fourth-grader Quora Roe, sitting next to her twin Teaghan.

Her sentiment was expressed by several of her fellow students.

Fourth-grader Jack Ringhofer said he thinks being a twin is special because he and twin Lily were born the same day one minute apart.

“I don’t think that happens very often,” he said.

Twins at the school include third graders Jack and Jason Jessop, fifth graders Ingrid and Annika Scott, third graders Ethan and Rylan Harmon, third graders Evan and Charlie Dowell, fourth graders Quora and Teaghan Roe, fifth graders Alex and Stephanie Gurtcheff, fourth graders Lily and Jack Ringhofer, and middle schoolers Timber and Madisyn Williams.

According to 2021 birth data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 114,161 of 3,664,292 births registered in the U.S. were twins, or 3%.

For fifth-grader Alex Gurtcheff, he likes having a sibling, Stephanie, who is the same age and in the same class. With the exception of two other sets of twins, the other pairs are placed in different classrooms. With so many twins placed in different classrooms, some have become close friends with each other’s twin, including third-graders Ethan and Rylan Harmon and Charlie and Evan Dowell.

Having a twin keeps boredom at bay. Whether it’s playing games, getting into laughing fits, sharing interests and activities like skiing, swimming and dancing, or, on the flip side, squabbling as siblings do and trying to agree on things like what movie to watch.

Of course, not all twins are exactly the same in either personality or appearance. While sharing likes and dislikes over lunch it became evident who was more talkative of each pair, with one third-grader expressing that he loves to talk and it’s one of his favorite things to do outside of eating and drinking.

Outside the obvious brother and sister fraternal twins, Piazzola said there are enough differences in appearance for teachers to discern who is who, namely in height. However, for people who don’t see them every day, the differences aren’t always obvious and one set of identical twins usually dress in identical clothes, she said.

At the end of the day, “It’s like having a normal sibling,” middle schooler Madisyn Williams said.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

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Middle schoolers and twins Timber and Madisyn Williams, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Fourth-grade twins Lily and Jack Ringhofer, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Fifth-grade twins Alex and Stephanie Gurtcheff, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Fourth-grade twins Quora and Teaghan Roe, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Third-grade twins Evan and Charlie Dowell, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Third-grade twins Ethan and Rylan Harmon, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Fifth-grade twins Ingrid and Annika Scott, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Third-grade twins Jack and Jason Jessop, one of eight sets of twins enrolled at Cayuse Prairie School on Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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