There are multiple multiples in the classrooms at Roosevelt Elementary School in McDonald. Six sets of twins are divided up among the three sections of kindergarten which has a total of 70 students enrolled for the 2008-09 school year.
The most common form of human multiple birth is twins. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in the United States about 1 out of 83 births is a twin birth.
''Some of the twins look nearly identical,'' said Tammy Walters, a kindergarten teacher at Roosevelt. ''Others don't really look that much alike at all.''
Roosevelt Elementary School in McDonald boasts six sets of twins in the three sections of kindergarten. In front, from left to right, are Emma and Ethan O’Connell, 6, Diana and Nikolina Drobnjak, 5, and Tara Mulrooney, 5, whose twin brother Colin was absent. In back are James and Rylie Mays, 6, Nicholas and Michael Ferradino, 6, and Madison and Molly Howard, 6. See these and more photos on CU at cu.tribtoday.com.
Some of the twins are separated into different classrooms and others are not; the teachers asked the parents of the siblings which they preferred and were able to honor those requests.
''It's worked out perfectly for Colin and Tara (Mulrooney),'' said Maggie Kowach, another kindergarten teacher, who has three sets of twins in her class. ''Colin is more outgoing and my classroom is louder; Tara is quieter and she's in Mrs. Bundy's class where things are a little calmer.''
Kellie Bundy teaches the other section of kindergarteners at Roosevelt.
Molly and Maddie Howard enjoyed the trick they played one day, according to Kowach. ''Maddie always wears her hair down and Molly always wears hers in a ponytail.'' The girls came in with their hair different to tease their teacher.
Walters said she had a set of twins who are now in high school. They admit now that they used to switch all the time. She says it's hardest to tell the twins apart on the playground and she might then have to ask which one is which or call them by their last name.
All of the teachers felt that it really wasn't that different from having other families of siblings. ''It has no effect on the school day,'' said Walters.
''Except double birthday treats,'' laughed Kowach. ''The twins can't agree on one so each gets to pick their own and bring it in on their birthday.''
Ethan and Emma O'Connell are part of Bundy's classroom. Their father is a teacher at Roosevelt. ''They can't get away with anything,'' said Bundy. ''One tells on the other whenever they do anything the least bit out of line.''
The teachers said the twins looked for each other at the beginning of the year and often hugged when they saw each other. But they have their own friends now and often don't play together.
''Michael and Nicholas (Ferradino) don't particularly look or act alike,'' said Kowach. ''Today one has on a Cleveland Browns jersey and the other has on a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey.'' Kowach said Michael looks a lot like his mother, who is also a twin.
For these teachers, the twins are neither a recent phenomenon nor limited to the school day.
Walters said she was present at the birth of a set of twins her friend had, she later had them in class, and they're now in college. The teachers have had multiple sets of twins other years as well and had three sets several years ago. Several teachers at Roosevelt are parents of twins.
Bundy and Walters, both McDonald natives, commented on the many sets of twins they had gone to school with or taught over the years.
''Four of the sets of parents of these twins grew up within a few blocks of each other,'' said Bundy. All six of the sets of twins are from McDonald.
James and Rylie Mays make up the final set of twins. They're in Kowach's classroom too. Conferences were a challenge, according to Kowach, because each child has different strengths and weaknesses.
''They are so pleased with the opportunity to do something that is their 'own' or to give something that is just from them,'' said Kowach.