photo courtesy of River and Raven Rutledge
Meet the multiple multiples of McCallum
Sets of twins, triplets create different blends of shared traits, individuality
Out of the 7.7 billion people on Earth, only about 28 million are twins and triplets, and sometimes it feels like all of them go to Mac.
This school year, there are multiple sets of multiples enrolled, with sets of identical and fraternal twins and even triplets seeming to take over the (virtual and hybrid) halls.
Living with a built-in best friend can be great, but sometimes the constant comparison is tough, especially in high school, where individuality is on everyone’s minds as students grow into adults. Having someone who looks just like you can feel like a constant pressure to either be the exact same or polar opposites.
“When we were younger, we struggled to be as close as we are now due to our desire to not be seen as the same person,” senior Sarah Weisbrodt said of her relationship with her twin sister Cate. “Now, our friendship is much stronger, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love her to death.”
It’s a common misconception that twins are exactly alike; some are similar and some are completely different.”
— senior River Rutledge
Senior twins Charlotte and Molly Odland, who happen to have been born on the same day and in the same hospital as the Weisbrodts, have found that their differences are mostly from the different extracurriculars they chose, but when they’re in the same classes they tend to process information similarly.
“I would say Molly and I have similar strengths and weaknesses academically where we both are terrible at math but tend to like English,” Charlotte said. “But Molly and I also do very different extracurriculars, which I think gives us different skills that we are strong at.”
English teacher Amy Smith has been able to examine these differences and similarities first hand. She happens to have an usually high number of multiples in her AP Lit classes: five sets of twins and one set of triplets.
“It’s kind of an interesting story,” Smith said. “I figure, because I have all seniors, that’s why I have so many, since usually everybody else has two different grade levels.”
Getting to know these sets of siblings up close and personal has been fascinating for Smith. Through reading their college essays and homework assignments, she’s noticed their particular styles of writing. Smith finds it interesting that some of the twins and triplets had similar styles, while others completely contrast each other.
“The Russos are all three very different in their writing style. Madi and Nick Baylor, also very different,” Smith said. “The Paredes twins, not so much; they are both real wordy, their style is very similar. I haven’t seen a huge difference in the Odland twins either.”
I feel like sometimes it might seem like, ‘Oh, my sister’s doing the same thing,’ like there’s no difference between us. But it honestly makes us just find different skills in everything we do.”
— senior Valentina Paredes
Some twins feel like they’ve grown up with the expectation that they’re going to be the exact same as their other half. Although they’ve grow up together and attend the same schools, seniors River and Raven Rutledge don’t think that expectation fits their personalities.
“We are so different in so many ways,” River said. “I feel like it’s a common misconception that twins are exactly alike; some are similar and some are completely different. We like to do different things. I like to write songs, and Raven likes to make visual art, but we’re both super artistic, and we have a lot of the same friends.”
Some of the ways they set themselves apart are with clothing, personality and interests.
“We have different styles,” Raven said. “My sister likes more bright colors while I tend to like softer things.”
Their fine arts focuses set them apart too: Raven is an art major while River is choir major.
“I love being able to be creative and express myself through my art classes,” Raven said. “I love learning new skills and forms of art that help me grow as an artist.”
Most McCallum twins or triplets agreed that their relationship with each other is much different than that of regular siblings. For one thing, it can make school life less stressful; Molly and Cate Holder have always gone to the same school and appreciated being able to help each other.
“I’ve noticed that having a twin with you during school makes things a lot easier,” sophomore Molly Holder said. “Not only does it help with confidence to make more friends, but it’s someone already available to help you with either homework or class work.”
[Playing basketball with my twin brother Rob] makes it a lot easier for me because I always know I can count on him.”
— senior John Wade
All that time spent in school together, however, is not without its struggles.
“Although it can be great, at times, getting used to having a built-in buddy can also cause problems later,” Molly said. “Cate and I may do something separately and not know how to act, or get socially anxious because we don’t have a person we can automatically talk to or ask for help.”
In most situations though, Cate and Molly like to stick together, and instead explore their individual interests within the same activity.
“We both take in interest in fashion,” Cate said. “Molly tends to wear pastels and sweaters while I am oriented more towards black or more contrasted colors and large T-shirts or collared tops.”
They were also both interested in the same fine arts focus.
“Our similarities can be seen in our talents,” Cate said. “Molly and I both took up dance in sixth grade, and we are currently dance majors in the Fine Arts Academy.”
Being a twin or a triplet comes with shared friendships, birthdays, material objects and privacy, and each set navigates their shared identities differently.
Exploring the things that make a set of twins individuals is part of what makes the twin experience is what it is—and at campus where diversity is encouraged and there are tons of different opportunities to explore fine arts, academics, sports and more, maybe it’s not a coincidence that it feels like twins are especially attracted to Mac.
DOUBLE (AND TRIPLE) BLASTS FROM THE PAST
ALEX AND MADI BAYLOR
Seniors Nick and Madi Baylor have always embraced being twins. It’s given them a strong bond, and with college just around the corner the pair is enjoying the time they have together. “Having a twin is like having a best friend that’s family,” Nick said. “I can trust Madi with anything.” Madi feels the same. “I rely on Nick more than I’d like to admit,” Madi said. “I can always confide in him, and he makes me laugh like no one else can.” Photos courtesy of the Baylor family.
ADDISON AND AVA PHILLIPS
Despite having very different interests and personalities, twin Addison and Ava Phillips still have a special bond. “I think we’re almost opposites of each other, which is cool because we still have a connection despite having very different interests,” Addison said. Addison described Ava as funny and artistic. “Ava is quite the unique bird. … I think you could say she’s nocturnal, too.” Ava thinks Addison is very sweet, athletic and a hard worker in school. “He’s a tall lad and he likes to work out,” she said, “very conscious of his grades, which makes him uptight at times, but he knows how to have fun sometimes, too.” Ava described herself as the version of Addison if he only “released his true power and released himself from all of his responsibilities.” To this assessment, Addison said “maybe if my true power was to be 11 inches shorter, yeah.”
MOLLY AND CATE HOLDER
Sophomores Molly and Cate Holder (left to right) were both raised to be determined, passionate and individual. “Molly is a strong-spirited person with a large heart,” Cate said. “She is dedicated, yet light hearted. She’s selfless and nurturing towards those around her. Molly prioritizes the well being of people she has come to respect.” Molly had kind words for Cate too. “Cate is a person who doesn’t give up,” Molly said of her twin. “I know that sounds cliche, but with anything she tries or says she sees it through till the end. She has a competitive and passionate spirit that refuses to be swayed, even if it’s in a beneficial direction. She knows how to help and support her friends and family.” Photos courtesy of the Holder family.
AMARA AND ZAKIYA ROBERTSON
Seniors Zakiya and Amara Robertson are split between schools: Zakiya at McCallum, Amara currently attending Garza. For the pair, there are both upsides and downsides to the separation. “I liked it because I got to be my own person…and learn more about myself,” Zakiya said. “But on the other hand I disliked it…because we couldn’t see each other and mess around in school like we used too.” For the Robertson sisters, being the same age helps strengthen their bond. “What I like most about having a twin [is having] someone who can literally read my mind. Twin telepathy isn’t real, but I low key think it is,” Zakiya said. “The best part of growing up with someone my same age is living with someone who has the exact same sense of humor as me. It’s very fun.”
RACHEL AND LINDSEY PLOTKIN
Though Lindsey and Rachel Plotkin are so identical that they’re sometimes mistaken for each other, they’re actually far from the same. “Rachel and I are very different; she’s more artsy, and I’m more sporty,” Lindsey said. Rachel finds it funny when people find out they’re twins, “Sometimes people think we’re the same person, and we get mixed up a lot.” Lindsey shares the same experience, as she is often called by her sister’s name, Rachel. “A lot of my friends from my soccer team get confused when they see photos of us together,” she said. Although, they’ve had more luck with being correctly identified since Rachel dyed her hair pink, “…but we used to use a mole on Rachel’s forehead to help people tell us apart.
CATE AND SARAH WEISBRODT
Seniors Cate and Sarah Weisbrodt’s dynamic has become very “classic twin” over the years, and the pair says keeping a strong, supportive relationship is important to them. “Cate and I are very close,” Sarah said. “She is truly my best friend. She has always been extremely supportive of me, and I feel like the luckiest girl alive to have been given a built-in bestie.” Then photo courtesy of the Weisbrodt family. Now photo by Lily Prather.
RAVEN AND RIVER RUTLEDGE
Senior Fine Arts Academy twins Raven (left) and River Rutledge (right) know each other like the backs of their hands. “River has great style,” Raven said. “She’s just a very genuine and down-to-earth person.“ River feels the same way about Raven. “Raven is the most loving, compassionate person you will ever meet,” River said. “Though she seems shy at first, she’s really a big ball of sunshine and is always able to put a smile on your face.” Photos courtesy of the Rutledge family.
COCO AND ZOE GRAVOIS
Coco and Zoe Gravois disagree with the stereotype of twins being each other’s half. “Though we still know each other very well, we are still different people, and we have different opinions and interests,” Coco said. They consider each other very close and familiar with each other “We talk every day and probably know each other better than anyone else does,” Coco added.
CHARLOTTE AND MOLLY ODLAND
Seniors Charlotte and Molly Odland make the most of their similarities, and are especially grateful to have each other by their sides at school and in life. “My favorite part about going to school with my twin is being able to talk to her when I need to and sometimes even having a class with her. It’s always nice to see her at least once throughout the school day,” Charlotte said. “Growing up with someone the same age is nice because they are going through the same things that you are whether it be school work, discovering interests or dislikes, and just learning what getting older is like.” Then: A young Charlotte (left) and Molly (right) at the beach, and Now: Molly (left) and Charlotte (right) as seniors. Photos courtesy of the Odland family.
ABBY AND BEN ROBISON
Abby and Ben Robison have been close from the very beginning, and not just close in proximity. “I consider myself close to all my brothers,” Abby said. “I just happen to share a birthday with one of them.” Abby thinks Ben is the smarter one while she’s the more athletic one, “but he wouldn’t agree.” Due to the fact that Ben attends LASA, people at Mac are often surprised when they find out Abby has a twin brother. “I don’t talk about it a lot, but when I do people make a big deal about it,” she said. “I just want to be known as Abby first and not Ben’s twin.” Growing up they did everything together, from summer camp to soccer practice. “…wherever I went, I knew I had a friend. I was never alone.”
JAMES AND BROCK FANNING
Sharing a love of their dogs and longhorn football is about as much as twins James and Brock Fanning have in common. “We aren’t super similar, but I think that keeps it interesting,” Brock said. “It’s nice because we like different things and whenever we come together and hang out it’s fun because our personalities mix.” The brotherly love is shared by both and poking fun at one another is always appreciated. “Brock is goofy, quiet, stubborn, childish, funny, irritating and needs a haircut,” James said. Brock retorted that James is just a grumpy old man. They really do love each other, right?
BELLA, WILL AND BRIDGET RUSSO
Bella, Will and Bridget Russo (left to right) on their first day of school in kindergarten, and later, senior year. Ambition runs in the family; each Russo is involved in a number of different things, and together they have a vast array of interests. Bella one of the Shield’s very own editors-in-chief, a visual arts ambassador, PAL and writing center tutor; Bridget is a varsity volleyball captain and visual arts major; Will is in band, Boy Scouts and the LBJ Fire Academy. “We are all pretty close,” Bridget said. “I’m glad we’re the same age because we can relate to each other. We’re all close with each other in different ways.” Photos courtesy of the Russo family.
GRANT AND MASON PITTS
Sophomores Stella and Jack Pitts are another set of twins at Mac. They agreed that going to the same school was difficult because they were always associated with each other, so finding different interests and friends was important. Their distinct personalities are seen in their talents and at school. “Stella is more into arts in and out of school,” Jack said “She’s funny, talented and lazy.” Of her twin brother, Stella offered, “Jack plays soccer in and out of school; we don’t do a lot of things together since we have such different interests. I’d say he’s cocky, funny, outgoing and loud.”
GRANT AND MASON SHACKELFORD (with sister Kate)
Junior twins Grant and Mason Shackelford, pictured here with sophomore sister Kate, are one of many sets of McCallum multiples featured on page 14. “My brothers are actually twins, but I am often told that I look a lot like Grant, so people think we are the twins instead of him and Mason,” Kate said. “As for our relationship, we are pretty close and support each other in our various pursuits. I am the lucky one and get to ask questions about school along with pretty much anything else due to them being a year older.” To read about how Mason made his own violin starting with a block of wood, see page 13. Photo courtesy of the Shackelford family.
This story was originally published on The Shield Online on February 9, 2021.