BUNKER HILL — Sixteen tiny kindergartners sat on the slide at Pipe Creek Elementary on their first day of school, waiting for the photographer to take their photo.
It was clear that many didn’t know why they were waiting out there on the preschool playground, while some of their classmates were at recess and others were in class.
But those 16 children are bound together by a common thread — a thread their 150 classmates don’t share. They are all twins.
That’s eight sets of twins in one class. That’s crazy, principal Laura Fulton said.
Fulton thought it was a joke at first.
Her secretary kept calling her during kindergarten registration. Every time, she said the same thing: There are another set of twins.
There were four and then five. And then suddenly there were seven and then eight.
Fulton was stunned.
“I said someone has to be playing a trick on us,” she said. “This can’t be true.”
The most twins Fulton remembers having in one grade level before this year were three.
“Three is unheard of,” she said. “Four is really unheard of. Eight is … well, I don’t know what you call that.”
The eight sets of twins make up 10 percent of the kindergarten class.
Fulton isn’t sure how many of them are identical.
Three are boy-girl pairs, though, making at least those three sets fraternal twins.
Twins Madison and Mayah Brennan don’t look all that much alike. One has brown hair and the other blond.
But they were dressed like twins for the first day of school — both donning matching Hello Kitty shirts and black leggings.
They do everything together, they said. In fact, after school on Thursday, the girls planned to ride their bikes with no training wheels.
Madison, the blond twin, said there is one thing she and her sister don’t share — a love of melons.
“I like watermelon,” Madison said. “She doesn’t. I like cantaloupes. She doesn’t.”
The girls were inseparable Thursday, clinging to each other on the playground while they waited for a group photo with their fellow twins.
Both said they were relieved to be in the same class this year.
Fulton asked them why.
Mayah said simply, “Because we’re friends, and we wanted to be together.”
Both said their first day of school would have been much scarier if they had to do it alone.
Adam and BreAnna Lester, on the other hand, said they weren’t nervous at all.
The twins didn’t shy away from conversation. Both had a lot to say.
In fact, the pair kept trying to talk over each other Thursday, fighting to share their opinions about school.
They agreed their favorite part of school was playing with toys.
But lunch was good, too. They had pizza, Adam said.
And peaches, his sister added.
Adam said he was jealous his sister got to build stuff with blocks, while he finished an art project.
He was making his name out of paper and glue.
In fact, he didn’t even have time to finish his conversation about being a twin.
“I’m gonna go now,” he said. “I have to get back to playing.”
Meanwhile, BreAnna wanted to introduce everyone to the new friend she had made at school.
In a nearby classroom, Aaron and Greg Warnock sat in beanbag chairs and looked through magazines.
One was reading “Jack and Jill.” The other browsed through a “National Geographic Kids,” stopping to look at pictures of frogs and bees.
Both were quiet, barely offering up answers to questions when asked.
Aaron, the curly-haired twin, said his favorite colors were pink and purple.
Greg, who has straight hair, said his favorites were red and blue.
Both said they were nervous about their first day of school. They couldn’t even imagine what it would be like if they didn’t have each other there with them.
“That would be even scarier,” Greg said.
Seth and Caitlin Cowles were partners during a song and dance Thursday. Their teacher turned the music on, and the singer had the twins greeting each other with a handshake and shimmying to the ground.
That was Caitlin’s favorite part of the school day. She loves music, she said.
Seth, on the other hand, prefers recess.
The brother and sister said they were happy they had each other.
They played together, and Seth finished some of Caitlin’s sentences during class Thursday.
Lauren and Lacey Ramos stepped out of their classroom Thursday wearing matching purple dresses.
They like all the same things, they said. Well, kind of.
Lauren’s favorite food is “basghetti.”
Lacey said hers is white spaghetti.
“She means fettuccini,” Lauren said.
The Ramos girls didn’t seem surprised by all the twins in their class. Twins are normal to them. The twin girls have twin siblings in fifth grade.
They also have a baby sister. They said they felt a little sad for her because she won’t have a sister to go to school with like they do.
Addie and Averie Maiben and Colbie and Hali Fording shied away from questions Thursday.
Ryder and Sophia Bushong appeared too busy to talk.
Sophia played on the jungle gym while her brother waited for the group photo.
He turned to Aaron and Greg, who sat next to him at the top of the slide. He was apparently unaware there were other twins in the class.
“Are you twins?” he asked the boys. “I’m a twin, too.”
Fulton said usually she lets parents of twins decide for themselves if they want their children in the same class.
This year, only one of the eight sets of parents considered separating their kids.
In the end, the principal kept them all together, though.
There are just too many this year to do it any other way.
“We thought for management purposes, it would be easier to have one set in each of the eight classrooms,” she said.
Lindsey Ziliak, Kokomo Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at firstname.lastname@example.org