Brothers and sisters often end up competing; it’s a crucial fact of family dynamics. Whether the reason is for attention, reward, or even for bragging rights, siblings always seem to be out to one-up each other in whatever they do. In the case of twins, this competition only seems to intensify. Constantly compared to each other, twin brothers and sisters of high school age often feel pressured to find ways of outperforming one another in every aspect of their lives.
“High school’s especially difficult when your twin brother is a straight-A boy-genius,” sophomore Laura Paquette joked of her brother Joe. “We weren’t all that competitive before high school, but things have definitely changed.”
During their freshman year at McNicholas, the Paquette’s landed on the same team for track and cross country. “Originally, it was my idea to join the team,” Laura said. “But when my mom found out, she thought it’d be a good idea to have Joe try out too – he hated it! I guess it just goes to show you, twins are two totally different people.”
Joe added, “I always feel like I have to match or exceed whatever my sister is doing. Laura and I try not to participate in the same sports or extra-curriculars anymore, because it just leads to us trying to out-do each other.”
Laura, who no longer participates in McNicholas track, now spends much of her time with the Art Department, while Joe focuses more on schoolwork and creative writing.
Rivalry aside, twins can learn from each other’s mistakes and accomplishments, and often learn to help each other excel, whether in schoolwork, sports, or other extra-curriculars. In the McNicholas theatre department, for example, seniors Samantha and Matthew Gabbard shared the stage in this year’s production of Grease; Samantha was stage manager while Matt took on the principal role of Danny Zuko.
“It’s a really cool thing to be able to work alongside someone you’re so close to,” Matt said. “Sammy wasn’t involved in theatre until junior year, and before that, I never felt as if I had someone to really talk to about rehearsals or shows. Sure, she’s stage manager and I’m an actor, so you’d think there’d be some competition there, but there isn’t. I learned a long time ago that Sammy’s the boss onstage, and it’s turned into something we can laugh about when the show’s over. Personally, I think we’ve only grown closer in our friendship.”
Sisters Abby and Maddie Mitchell are junior twins who compete in the same sports. Both have qualified to the state meet for McNicholas diving, and both joined the McNicholas volleyball team freshman and sophomore years. But when junior tryouts arrived, only one of the two made the cut.
“This year, when we both tried out again, I didn’t make it, and she did. Getting cut was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through,” Abby admitted. “I wasn’t really jealous of her; I was just disappointed in myself for not doing as well. It was really hard on me, but I try not to let that show.”
Despite competing in athletics, the two remain not only siblings, but also best friends.
“You always have someone there for you, no matter what,” Abby said. “It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. I have someone who is in the same classes, dealing with the same issues, and going through the same things as I am. It’s nice to have someone who has a very similar life as you because it’s like a second opinion or view of my own life. I know I’ll always have a best friend who is there for me because I have Maddie.”
When twins are able to find common ground in schoolwork and activities, a sense of camaraderie can certainly ensue. “Having my twin at the same school makes me work a little harder so I can always be at my sister’s pace,” Maddie said. “At this point in my life, I can’t imagine living without my twin by my side!”