Double Trouble or Twice as Nice? Staples sophomore class sets record for twins
Updated 6:24 am, Friday, April 27, 2012
Doublemint Gum ad executives, famous for their use of twins in the "Double Your Pleasure ..." television commercials, would have a field day at Staples High School, where the staff and students see double 16 times every day.
And that's in the sophomore class alone.
The Class of 2014, which has 380 students, includes 16 sets of twins, beating the world record by three. The Guinness Book of World Records currently acknowledges a school in Massachusetts as having the most sets of twins in one class at 13. After Westport parents and school officials submit specific documentation to Guinness officials, the keeper of world records is expected to certify Staples sophomore class with the distinction.
School officials and students said they expect to get the official recognition before the end of the academic year.
The twins, most of them fraternal, gathered for a group photo in the auditorium before school Wednesday as part of the process to authenticate their numbers.
"We also collected a copy of all the students' birth certificates to make sure it was authentic," said Karen Romano, secretary to Principal John Dodig. Romano and Dodig were instrumental in researching the total number of twins after Luke Foreman, 16, one of the twins, inquired about their unusually large numbers.
More InformationSTAPLES '14, SEEING DOUBLE Following is a list of the 16 sets of twins in the Staples High School sophomore class, comprising 8.4 percent of the class enrollment (nationwide, 2 percent of the general population are twins, according to the Twins Foundation): Ian and Lily Barsanti, Katherine and Benjamin Cion, Michael and Joseph Cozzi, Joshua and Sarah Dublin, and Luke and Megan Foreman. Also, Nathan and Robert Francis, Craig and Dayna Gelman, Peter and Caroline Lagerloef, Sydney and Jacob Moss, and Annie and Lauren Raifaisen. Zachary and Jacob Reiser, Victoria and Joshua Sesmer, Charles and Liana Sonenclar, Baxter and Griffin Stein, Riatan and Diamonde Ufomaduh, and Howard and Jenny Xu.
Last fall, Foreman created a Facebook page for all his fellow twins at Staples, but even he hadn't realized how many there were. "Right from the beginning I knew we had a lot of twins in our grade, but it didn't strike me as unusual until I counted all the twins we had. We came up with the 14th pair of twins and I thought we had something cool," said Foreman, whose twin is sister, Megan.
Foreman visited the Guinness website and learned that the Staples sophomore class had more twins than the record listed online. He went to Dodig to get an official list of all the twins. Romano scanned school records, and found two more sets of twins in the class -- the 15th and 16th.
"That was amazing. The old record in Guinness is 13, so they blew it away," Romano said.
"It really did surprise me that we broke the world record. I didn't think that could happen," said Diamonde Ufomaduh, 15, whose twin is her brother Riatan. "I grew up reading the (Guinness) book so it'll be amazing to see my name in it," she said.
Riatan Ufomaduh said he always hoped to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, but for another reason -- "for running." Riatan said he appreciates sharing the record with many Staples classmates, but especially enjoys having a twin for life in general. "It's special. It's like having a partner that you have with you for life, a built-in friend that you have forever," he said of his sister.
"It's nice to know my name is going to be in the book (even though) I didn't do anything to earn it," said Ian Barsanti, whose twin is Lily.
"At first I didn't know what to think. We're setting a world record just for being born," said Baxter Stein, 16, who said he not only shares a birthday, DNA and some physical features with his twin brother Griffin, but now they share this record as well. The two are fraternal twins who might be taken for brothers, but not twins -- at first glance. Griffin is about "five inches taller," Baxter said.
Some parents were also surprised by the record number of twins, but others saw it coming.
"Even in their nursery school class there were four sets of twins; even in their after-school activities, religious school and Little League there were other twins," said Marge Cion, the parent of twins Katie and Ben, age 16. Cion, who works for the Westport school system, said a house was built next door to theirs years ago and into it moved a family with twins, the Foremans. "So there were two sets of twins on the same street," she said.
"At some point, someone said, `We're not drinking the water here,' " Cion said.
"It's a weird idiosyncrasy of our grade. We've always known there were a lot. It was a known thing but nobody ever counted. It's really cool to have a world record," said Katie Cion, 16. Katie loves having a twin. "We shared a womb ... You always have a friend. I never had to go to the first day of school alone. There's always someone by your side," she said.
Luke Foreman said the process of securing the Guinness certification has taken about six months and isn't officially over yet.
"It was bizarre. We had to do a lot of work. There were a lot of requirements we needed to fulfill in order to officially break the record," Foreman said. The group photograph of the 16 sets of twins taken Wednesday was the last piece. "We need to hand in the photo and a witness account," he said.
Dodig said one of the requirements was to have someone not affiliated with the school independently document the number of twins. "This is very unusual. I've been doing this for 43 years. I never remember this many twins in any of the high schools I worked in," he said. The principal said there are several other sets of twins and triplets in the Staples' student population, but did not have those numbers immediately available.
In fact, at last year's graduation of the Class of 2011 twin brothers -- Eric and Todd Lubin -- were the valedictorian and salutatorian.
"It's a little weird, but it's kind of funny we have so many twins," said Sarah Rountree, 15, a member of the sophomore class who does not have a twin.
This isn't the first time Staples High School has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. "Last year we did the most number of people arm wrestling at the same place at the same time," Dodig said.
STAPLES '14, SEEING DOUBLE
Following is a list of the 16 sets of twins in the Staples High School sophomore class, comprising 8.4 percent of the class enrollment (nationwide, 2 percent of the general population are twins, according to the Twins Foundation):