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December 5, 2013

Twins and triplets in Tooele County School District take care of each other as students and as siblings 

Richard Valdez from Tooele Junior High called the Transcript-Bulletin office and said that there were eight sets of twins and one set of triplets at the junior high.

“I thought that was a high percentage of twins for a school our size,” Valdez said. “After calling the Transcript, I decided to check with the other junior highs and high schools in Tooele Valley to see how many twins were registered at their schools to compare if this really was a high percentage.”

The following is what was reported from the various schools.

Jodie Bishop at Tooele High School reported, “We have 11 twins and no triplets with a total student body of 1,604.”

Stansbury High School has 1,607 students with 23 sets of twins and one set of triplets as reported by Susie Hansen in the counseling office.

“Yesterday Mrs. Medina, counselor, had a college and career counseling with a set of triplets,” Susie said. “That meant there were five people in the room,” she said, indicating that there are usually a set of parents with one child, only.

When Sandy Drake at Grantsville High School was contacted, she said: “There are 10 sets of twins and no triplets. It seems like those babies are in a hurry to come down. My daughter is having a set of identical twins. Twins don’t run in our family, and of course identical twins are random.”

Kathy Bullough from Clark Johnsen Junior High School divided the students in her school by grade, saying, “There are eight twins in the seventh grade and one set of twins in the eighth grade.”

So for a school with 888 students, there are a total of nine sets of twins.

Natalie Hart, of Grantsville Junior High School, said that they have seven sets of twins in a school population of 393, which means that Grantsville Junior High has the highest percentage of twins at 3 percent.

Alisa and Whitley Ernst are 17-year-old identical twins at Grantsville High School. They said they notice the other sets of twins in their high school and can understand how other twins feel when other people can’t tell them apart.

Alisa said, “A good thing about being twins is you always have someone to go to things with and hang out with. I’ve never not been a twin, so I don’t know any other way.”

Whitley said, “I don’t like people who constantly expect you to be exactly alike.”

The girls shared that they only tried to change places with each other once. “In fourth grade we switched seats, but one kid figured it out and told.”

Whitley shared, “If someone comes up to you and starts talking to you and you don’t know what they are talking about, you know they have mistaken you for your twin. You feel sorry for them, and I try not to let them know they are talking to the wrong person.”

“Twins have a lot of the same friends and they also have different friends,” which they agreed is good if you want to get away from your twin.

As far as school is concerned, Whitley and Alisa agreed that it is easier to get homework for each other if they miss school, as they have the same classes.

“We were separated in the first grade, but we were together in the same class every year until junior high,” said Alisa.

Whitley added, “One thing that can be frustrating when you are a twin is when you are trying to be individualized and your twin wants to play the same sport or do something else the same.”

Individualism does not seem to be a problem for these two sisters.

“I do track and field and also ballroom dance,” said Whitley. And Alisa said, “I am in the marching band.”

Alisa and Whitley are seniors at Grantsville High this year and each has different interests for the future. They shared, “I want to be a dental hygienist,” said Whitley.

Alisa is undecided for now. She said, “I am juggling between being in the FBI and Elementary Education.”

One thing for sure, after high school it will be a big change for the twins, but with exuberance they said it will be exciting.

The noticeable twins are the identical twins, but there are also fraternal twins — those born on the same day but often look very different. Fraternal twins occur when the mother has two eggs that are fertilized at the same time.

Isaac and Mattison (Mattie) Riding are fraternal twins. Besides being a boy and girl, they look very differently from one another. Isaac is tall and slender. Mattie is shorter, but was quick to point out that she was older.

“By sixty seconds,” Isaac clarified. “She always likes to brag she is 60 seconds older.”

“One minute,” Mattie said.

“That sounds better,” said Isaac, sarcastically.

Mattie said, “We are competitive, especially in basketball.”

Their mother, Autumn Riding, said they are the youngest of six kids.

“They were the surprise,” she said. “We had two boys, then two girls, and they kept us even at three and three.”

About being a twin, Mattie said, “It is nice to do math homework together.”

Isaac said, “We always have someone to talk to.”

When asked if they notice the other twins at the junior high school, both said “Sometimes.”

Mattie said, “They had a thing for the yearbook and had a picture taken of all of the twins. Most look like each other, though.”

Besides the homework, Isaac said, “Walking to school together, going to each other’s lockers and asking for help” are all things he likes about being a twin.

Their mother said, “I think our circumstances were quite a bit of a challenge. Our youngest was 2 when Isaac and Mattison were born. They were seven weeks early … and had to stay in the NICU. They did well compared to most twins, but it was hard to leave them and go home to my other children, and it was hard to leave my children at home, especially the 2-year-old, to go back to the hospital with them.”

Isaac was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, which left the family juggling time.

“[Isaac] had multiple surgeries that first year,” Autumn said. “I couldn’t take [Mattie] to his surgeries, so my husband and I had to divide. We have always felt very blessed to have [Mattison and Isaac]. They are very good kids and try to do their best.”

When asked if they were protective of each other, Isaac answered very sincerely, “You really do take their trust and know they can do things for you and when you have chores, they help you.”

Mattison and Isaac have very different interests, besides both enjoying basketball. Isaac said he enjoys playing baseball, football, ping pong and hunting. Mattie said she likes competitive dance, hanging out and school.

The county has triplets as well. Stansbury High School and Tooele Junior High School are the only schools with a set of triplets enrolled.

One thought on “Twins

  1. The number of sets of twins throughout the Tooele Valley School District is quite unusual. Back in the late 50′s there was an article that ran in the Tooele paper that connected numerous sets of twins that lived within a 1 block radius of Highland Dr, Broadway, 1st Street and E. 1st South. My older brothers were one of the sets. That’s how I remember. I don’t recall all of the families involved but I do remember the Harkers, the Hills, the Smiths and and us the Mitchells.

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