Talk about seeing double.
An “unprecedented” nine sets of twins graduated from East Meadow High School Sunday, principal Rich Howard said after the ceremony.
Francisca and Vilma Fuentes; George and Mathew Kalambukadu; Benjamin and Danielle Levy; Amanda and Melissa LoCascio; Emily and Nathaniel Mendelson; Danielle and Frank Michelini; Molli and Mackenzie Salomon; Jacquelyn and Jonathan Tams; and Jake and Jesse Weiner all crossed the stage to receive their diplomas Sunday.
“I think there are some records held in athletics — like Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points in a single game or Cal Ripken’s 2,600-some-odd consecutive games — that will never be broken. I think here today at East Meadow, we have a record that will never occur again,” Howard said in front of the school’s 421 graduating seniors Sunday.
“From February 14, 1998 through November 30, 1998, eight sets of twins were born and they all somehow found their way to the East Meadow graduating class of 2016. And as if eight wasn’t enough, on July 1, 2014, we welcomed the Fuentes sisters into our East Meadow family. And yes, they are twins as well,” Howard said before asking the twins to stand and be recognized.
Though Howard can’t say for sure that the class of 2016’s 18 twins set some sort of record, he thought it was a “nice tidbit that makes this class unique.”
The principal said he didn’t realize there were so many twins in the class of 2016 until the Salomon sisters brought it to his attention earlier this year.
Mackenzie Salomon, who will be attending SUNY Delhi in the fall, said she was flipping through her yearbook one night and started counting up the twins.
“I knew that there were at least five or six pairs of twins,” she said, adding that several of them graduated together from Barnum Woods Elementary School. “I really had no idea there would end up being so many.”
Though the Fuentes sisters are the class’ only identical twins, several siblings admitted to trying to pull “The Parent Trap-style” high jinks.
Jesse and Jake Weiner, who aren’t identical, but bear a striking resemblance to each other, recall changing clothes and trying to switch art classes. And while in elementary school, the LoCascios remember swapping clothes midday to try and confuse a teacher.
For many of the siblings, Sunday’s graduation was bittersweet.
“We’re really inseparable. It’s going to be hard being away from each other, but it will be a good growing experience,” said Melissa LoCascio.
The twins will both attend Nassau Community College in the fall, but plan to transfer to different schools.
Mathew and George Kalambukadu, who happen to be close friends with fellow twin Jonathan Tams, said the three are sad to part ways.
“It’s nice to have someone to relate to,” Mathew Kalambukadu and Tams said in unison, before both cracking a smile.