The five pairs of twins have known each other since they were in preschool.
More than a dozen years later, they walked off the stage Saturday to cheers, capping off a high school life that was unlike any other.
Celebrating with friends and family on the lawn of Mattituck Jr/Sr High School following the Class of 2022's graduation ceremony, twins Julienne and Kathryn Schuch said sharing that moment with each other made it more special.
"We're very close, and we weren't always very close, but over the past few years in high school, we got a lot closer and to be graduating with her is a very nice thing," Julienne said.
The twins were among 109 students at their small high school, and thousands of seniors across Long Island, who graduated this week following two years of pandemic learning.
One set of twins plans to attend college together. The eight other students will head to different colleges, excited to tread a new path on their own.
“My entire life has been like 'Jules and Kate,' ” said Julienne, 17, who will attend High Point University in North Carolina. Her sister, Kathryn, will be at Flagler College in Florida.
“You're always known for being together. Like you're not very individual. It's always just like the two of you,” Julienne said in an interview days before graduation. “So I'm excited to go out and meet friends.”
Nicolette Cianfrogna, 18, echoed similar sentiments. She is heading to SUNY Cortland upstate, and her sister, Isabella, to Hunter College in Manhattan.
“I want people to know me first and not compare me [to my sister],” Nicolette said. “I want to be my separate person.”
Twins Ariel and Kaitlin Elmore will attend the University at Albany and SUNY Oneonta, respectively.
Burke Evers will be off to SUNY Oswego, while Ethan Evers heads to the University of Maine.
Ben and Sam Dufton are sticking together. Both plan to attend the School of Music at Belmont University in Nashville. The brothers, who have had the same schedules in the past three years, will be roommates in college as well. They are also in the same band, “Audawind,” along with their older sister.
“I just look forward to sharing the same experiences with Sam,” said Ben, 18. “It'll be a lot of fun.”
While the high school had multiple sets of twin graduates in the past, Principal David Smith said five is the highest in recent memory. In 1982, there were at least four sets, he said.
“What makes this one so interesting is, as a cohort, they have been together, all 10 of them … since preschool,” he said.
The Mattituck-Cutchogue district is a tight-knit school community with about 1,100 students. The teenagers said they know “pretty much every single person” in their senior class, and it’s rare for them to go anywhere in town without seeing someone they know.
“If you go into the grocery store, there's like a 95% chance that you're going to see someone [you know],” Sam Dufton said. “I think that says a lot about our town.”
Over the years, some of the twins became close friends, and the bond runs deep.
The Cianfrognas and the Schuchs live a few streets from each other. Their mothers met at a doctor’s office before the Schuch sisters were born and they had playdates since they were little.
“We were born to be friends,” Julienne Schuch said.
Both the Schuchs and the Cianfrognas said that no matter how far apart they are, they will find a way to stay connected.
"Ever since we were kids, we told each other that we would always keep in contact, so I would bet that out of anyone in this school, we would keep in contact with them," Kathryn Schuch said.
The Cianfrognas agreed.
"We're going to FaceTime each other, see each other during breaks," Nicolette Cianfrogna said as she and her sister stood side by side after the ceremony. "We're going to be more distant than usual but ... "
" ... I know we're going to get through it," Isabella Cianfrogna finished the sentence with a smile.