By Kim Walter
If you think you're seeing double during Sherando High School's commencement exercises, it might be because of the eight sets of twins graduating.
Principal John Nelson said he's never seen a class with so many twins before.
"It's kind of funny to see them all together," he said Wednesday morning during a photo shoot, which gathered all 16 students. "I don't think some of them even realized there were this many sets of twins."
The siblings will be part of the 339 seniors to graduate during Sherando's ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday morning in Arrowhead Stadium. The rain date is 2 p.m. Sunday. The graduating class is the largest in Frederick County.
Six of the eight sets are brother-sister duos, while the other two are a sister and a brother pair.
One set of twins makes up two of the top three students in the class.
Jason and Christina Lee, 17, advanced academically and often found themselves in the same classes. They said being twins at the same school wasn't so bad, except for when people didn't realize their connection.
"The worst part is when people think we're dating," Christina said. "We're friends and we do a lot of the same stuff, but I also think we look pretty similar, so I don't know how people don't see it!"
The two will be hundreds of miles away from each other as Christina heads to North Carolina and Jason is off to Illinois for school in the fall.
"It's going to be really weird," Christina said. "We've never been apart for like, more than a week."
They both share an ambitious gene, though. Jason plans to study mechanical engineering and Christina is pre-med.
Not all of the sets of twins are quite as similar.
"We're exactly opposite," said Nisha Moore, 18, of her and her twin brother, Anthony. The two also will part ways in the fall. Anthony wants to study audio recording in Harrisonburg, while Nisha has her sights set on studying psychology at Lynchburg College.
Renee and Matt Long, 18, are going to take advantage of having family around after they graduate. Even though they don't interact much during school, they both claim to be protective of each other.
"I'm 13 minutes older, so I feel responsible for him," Renee said. After being born and weighing about 3 pounds each, the twins were placed in the NICU. "I don't know, we've been through a lot together ... we'll always be connected whether we like it or not."
Matt laughed, and admitted that he wishes he would've been born first. Either way, he looks out for his sister, too.
"We get along pretty well," he said. "If anything, we kind of team up on our little sister, not to pick on each other."
Both Renee and Matt already have jobs in the area, and plan to maintain the responsibilities. They're going to move in together until Matt can figure out what to do that will "get him out of Virginia." Renee plans to settle in the area with her boyfriend.
"I'd rather live with my brother while I start this new phase of my life," said Renee. "I know him, I trust him ... not everyone is lucky enough to have a person like that while they go through a life change."
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or email@example.com