DE PERE – Graduation day at St. Norbert College, in 18 days, will be a family affair.
Eight pairs of twins, and three-quarters of a set of quadruplets, make up part of the class of 2014.
At cap and gown night Wednesday, seven of the nine sets of multiples took part in a group photo
The unique group totals 19 students. Some say going to college together has its advantages.
“You definitely have a friend no matter what,” said Ashley Saskowski of West Allis.
“Yeah, she is my best friend I will say,” her twin Amber Saskowski chimed in.
“Yeah and we’ve lived together all four years,” explained Ashley.
“I mean we did get on each other’s nerves like all sisters do,” admitted Amber.
It’s also a social perk, and for multiples on the same career path – an academic one too.
“Well everyone knew us, I guess,” said Morgan Heim of Green Bay.
“Yeah, the social aspect is nice. Knowing a lot of people,” said Morgan’s fraternal twin, Michael Heim. “Also the school helped a lot too, we kind of helped each other on a lot of projects.”
One downside – for some it can be tough to be an individual when you have an identical sibling on campus.
“I’ll be walking down the sidewalk and see someone that she has a class with and I have no idea who they are, and if they say ‘Hi,’ I’ll just be like – oh, she must know them – and say ‘Hi’ back,” said Jolene Kerner of Antigo.
“Yeah, just kind of play along,” added her twin, Jaclyn Kerner.
School officials say nine sets of multiples walking down the aisle at commencement is a record for St. Norbert.
“We feel like we’re bonded,” said Amber Saskowski. “We’re in this together, we started together.”
“Now we’re ending together,” said Ashley Saskowski.
Many I spoke with say it’s a bittersweet time.
“I hope to go to PA school,” said Jaclyn Kerner, a biology major.
“We’re getting an apartment together for the summer, so we’re going to try to stick together, near each other, but we’re obviously not going to have the same career path,” Jolene Kerner, a communications major said.
But graduation doesn’t mean separation for everyone.
“I am going to stay around the area,” said Michael Heim.
“Yeah, me too,” agreed his sister Morgan.
“So, probably not,” Michael said about the possibility of going their separate ways.
The graduation ceremony is set for May 18. The college says there are 524 graduates in the 2014 class.
Class of 2014 Multiples:
Kari & Meghan Braatz
Cameron & Christopher Doran
Michael & Morgan Heim
Elizabeth, Nicole & Stephanie Hietpas
Jaclyn & Jolene Kerner
Hayley & Rachel Nagengast
Amber & Ashley Saskowski
Kirill & Ruslan Vasilenko
Miranda & Sarah Wallenfang