SCARBOROUGH — The audience may do double takes Sunday when six sets of twins graduate from Scarborough High School.
None of them are identical, but all agreed that high school was easier as a twin because they started as freshmen with at least one friend and a study partner.
Fraternal twins occur when two eggs are fertilized, while identical twins happen when a fertilized egg splits.
Half a dozen pairs of twins among a senior class of 253 is extremely rare. The birth rate for twins is 33.5 per 1,000 live births, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Although twins are not unusual in Scarborough High School, six sets of twins in one class are,” Assistant Principal Susan J. Ketch said, referring to Sam and Sydney Rusak, Ryan and Rachel Barr, Joey and Edie Christian, Kristen and Ashley Levesque, Caroline and Andrew Goodwin, and Dominic and Dakota Joy.
Commencement ceremonies are at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
The LeVesques, 18, look the most alike. Their parents thought they might be identical, they said, and had tests performed twice to confirm they are fraternal.
The siblings pulled the typical prank of attending each other’s classes to see if teachers could tell the difference. Usually, they said, the trick worked.
Teachers sometimes don’t call them by their names because they don’t want to get it wrong, Ashley said.
They both played on the tennis and field hockey teams. In elementary school, the girls dressed identically.
“We take a lot of the same classes,” Kristen said. “We have a synchronized laugh.”
The LeVesques have never been apart more than 48 hours, but starting this fall, they will not see each other for nine months.
Ashley will be taking a gap year before starting college, going on a Christian mission trip called The World Race that will take her to several countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Guatemala and Honduras.
Both girls plan to attend Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where they will study in health-related fields: Ashley will be on a nursing track, while Kristen will major in bio-medical sciences with a minor in world studies. Her goal is to become a physician’s assistant or pursue a medical degree.
The Rusaks, 18, said they often crave the same foods at the same time, and their course of study is also similar. But their college choices differ.
Sam will be attending the University of Connecticut, pursuing a business degree. His sister, Sydney, will attend Highpoint University to study international business.
The Barrs, 18, never had a class together in high school, but they both like soccer and skiing. Both of them will attend Fairfield University in Connecticut to study biology.
“We didn’t plan it like that,” said Rachel, who plans to be a physician’s assistant. Her brother will study to be a doctor.
The Christians, 18, said they sometimes think and say the same thing at the same time. The pair also plans to stay in Maine to continue their education, but will attend different schools.
Joey will attend St. Joseph’s College in Standish to pursue a degree in secondary education and history. His goal is to become a middle school social studies teacher.
Edie will be attending the University of Southern Maine, where she will be majoring in social work.
The Goodwins, 17, were the prince and princess of their junior prom and, when they’ve been out to eat together, people sometimes think they’re on a date.
They both will be attending Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, with Caroline majoring in biology, while Andrew will study economics.
The twin Joy brothers, 17, will be attending different colleges, and are undecided about majors.
Dominic will attend St. Michael’s College in Vermont, while Dakota will attend the University of New England in Biddeford.
Six pairs of twins will graduate June 11 from Scarborough High School: Joey and Edie Christian, left rear, Ashley and Kristen Levesque, Dominic and Dakota Joy, Sydney and Sam Rusak, Andrew and Caroline Goodwin, and seated, Rachel and Ryan Barr.