Vets grads doubled and doubled again
The Warwick Veterans Memorial High School’s hallways were swarmed with seniors as they retrieved their caps and gowns and said goodbye to their favorite faculty and friends on Friday morning.
Eight of the 216 students to receive their diplomas this Wednesday have had a different experience than the others. The Vets’ graduating class consists of four sets of twins this year, but for some of them, graduation doesn’t mean splitting apart.
Both Evan and Ian Anderson, 18, will be attending CCRI in the fall together.
“I’m thrilled,” said Evan. “We’ve shared all life experiences together and it’s been fun.”
Although the two are best friends and share lots of the same friends, they don’t always share the same interests. Both brothers ran cross-country for the school team, but Ian plans on continuing for the CCRI team next year.
“I’m always the faster one,” Ian said. “But he’s always right behind me.”
Ian ran for the Vets team since his freshman year while Evan started a year later and sees running with his brother as self-motivating.
Evan plans to pursue a career in criminal justice in the future after being a Community Service Officer for the Warwick Police Department.
“As an activist, I like helping others,” he said.
Math teacher Kathleen O’Grady had the Andersons for senior math and said she didn’t see much competition between the two academically.
“They worked at it and didn’t give up,” she said.
When describing the class, she said, “You’d know when Evan was in the room.”
She said Ian was the more quite of the twins.
Theodore Gomm, 18, said he and his brother Christopher Gomm, 18, are interested in some of the same things like anime.
“But I like to read anime and Chris prefers to watch it,” said Theodore, who was dressed up as Redfox, a character from a video game, to celebrate his last day. Theodore will be at New England Institute of Technology in the fall studying game and simulation programming, and Christopher will be attending CCRI for general studies.
They reminisced to when their parents dressed them in the same outfits for important events, but said confusion between the two of them doesn’t seem to happen too often anymore.
“People seem to do it as a joke,” said Christopher.
The fraternal boys said they mostly have different friend groups. They said they fight sometimes, especially when arguing over strategy games.
Kerri Trottier, special education teacher, said, “I’ve watched Theo grow and come into his own.”
She said Theo has always had a deep interest in chorus and the tech aspect of things. This year, he focused on accomplishing his goals involving New England Tech, she said.
The next set of twins, Jeremy and Kyle Morrissette, 18, are nervous about their pending separation.
“I’ve been with him for 18 years, so it’s a little depressing,” said Jeremy. “I’m sure we’ll text every day.”
Jeremy will be closer to home attending Emmanuel College in Boston studying biology, while Kyle will study animal sciences at Virginia Tech University.
The two admit they are extremely competitive. Jeremy is ranked third in the top 10 students of their class and Kyle is ranked seventh. The Morrissette boys said they are good test takers and are both part of the school’s math league.
In O’Grady’s pre-calculus honors class last year, she said, “Jeremy could’ve run the class himself.”
Both Jeremy and Kyle are “athletes, brilliant, and great people,” said O’Grady.
Although they don’t look like twins, the boys have similar interests in the music they listen to, sharing the same friends and playing football and indoor track.
Principal Gerald Habershaw said the school has never had this many sets of twins in a graduating class.
“It’s really impressive,” he said. “They’re all really good kids.”
Close friends with the Morrissette boys are the Almontes. Emily and Lauren Almonte, 17, are identical twins that say they are excited to start fresh in college. They will be less than an hour away from each other as Emily, valedictorian, will go to Boston College to explore math and science careers and Lauren, salutatorian, will attend Stonehill College for English and graphic design. Like the Morrissette twins, the girls said being first and second in the top 10 makes them competitive with each other.
“The Almonte girls are great assets to our school. They are great role models always doing the right thing,” said Habershaw.
Emily said the split between the two is bittersweet.
“It’ll be nice to not be known as a twin,” she said.
Some teachers they’ve had continue to confuse them, said Emily.
“It’s the first place that I’ll go alone, and she won’t be there next to me,” said Lauren.
Sports have also been a competitive aspect in their lives. The girls were part of the school’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams.
Along with being a math teacher, O’Grady is also the school’s soccer and lacrosse coach for girls and said, “The Almonte girls were competitive but healthy. They were evenly matched,” she said.
English teacher Julie Petitbon remembered her Honors Humanities class, a pre-advanced placement course, last year where she had both the Almontes and the Morrissettes together.
“It was the best, most wonderful class I’ve ever taught in my life,” she said.
Petitbon said when the kids came to say goodbye to her this morning she burst into tears.
She described the two sets of twins as “very gifted.”
“Lauren is a very strong writer and Emily is exceptional in reading,” Petitbon said.
She said she sees physical differences in the two girls that allow her to not mix them up.
Petitbon has never had two sets in the same class before but was touched by their motivation.
She said she received a personalized version of “Pride and Prejudice” from the class as a thank you gift. They made it so throughout the story, her and her husband’s name replaced the protagonist Elizabeth Bennett and her true love Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Habershaw described all the twins as “unique in their own ways.”
The Vets graduation will be on Wednesday, June 11, at 6 p.m. at the Knight Campus of CCRI.