Kerri Modeski has seen a lot of students come through her office in her time as Brooklyn Elementary School principal.
But last month, when she called on the intercom for siblings who share birthdays for a “Twin Day” photo for Homecoming week, things got crowded in a hurry.
That’s because this year, out of around 500 students, there are an amazing 17 sets of multiples enrolled at the school: 15 sets of twins and two sets of triplets. Modjeski said staff didn’t really put that together until that moment, when she thought surely kids heard the message wrong.
Then she found out, no, they were all related.
“I was like, ‘Wow,’” Modjeski told the Observer last week.
The school has eight sets of identical siblings and five sets of boy/girl twins. In Modjeski’s 25-year career with the Oregon School District, she’s seen three sets of triplets; and two of those sets are in third and second grade this year.
After staff made an announcement about the unusually large number of multiples, unique anecdotes started coming through the woodwork.
Modjeski found out that the father of the Lawry triplets, Andy, was a twin. One BKE staff member has a twin born on a different day; one just before midnight and the other just after.
Seven-year-old twins Eddie and Mila Ferrell also have a younger set of twin siblings.
“We just think of them as their own people,” Modjeski said when describing the shock of the twin-mania at the school this year.
It’s helped that she’s developed ways to tell all the identical twins apart.
“Sophia has a mole on her face, so I think Sophia’s spot. And Elyse has a mark near her eye so I think Elyse-eye.”
On Friday, after gathering the sets together for a group picture, students told the Observer most siblings share a room, but have separate teachers and often get mixed up with one another.
“Our mom calls us the wrong names but knows who is who,” one of the Harm twins said.
The Johnson sisters said they are best friends, “of course,” but the entire group admitted they still fight over toys and attention, just like any other siblings.
“I hate when Stevie blows out my candles on my birthday,” one of the Lawry triplets said with a smile.
Lisa Beerup, mom of fraternal twins, Lily and Logan, remembers looking at the ultrasound in the doctor’s office nine years ago and seeing two spots instead of one.
“I walked out into the waiting room and opened the doors and said ‘I’m having twins!’” she told the Observer.
Parents who have raised multiples know taking care of two or three newborns is a lot of work, though. Berrup said her mother stayed with her for a while after her twins were born to help manage the many sleepless nights.
“I felt like all I dealt with was poop and diapers,” Lisa said with a laugh.
The 17 sets aren’t guaranteed to be together again after this year, as fourth graders will move on to middle school.
“It is a pretty special thing,” Modjeski said.