By Christina Lopez
They’ve been playing softball, swimming, bargain shopping, fishing and taking the same classes together for years.
And the epitome of their attachment may come today when twins Samantha and Jessica Smith take the stage to give one speech ó as North Rowan High School co-valedictorians.
But as they end an educational journey they embarked on together since dressing identically in grade school, the twins are ready for change.
“We are definitely going to be calling each other all the time and plan to see each other twice a month at least,” Sammie said.
Jessie will be attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Sammie will be attending North Carolina State University, both with full scholarships for their freshman year and many renewable awards.
Both twins finished their high school career with the same 4.786 grade point average.
Although they will attend universities 156 miles apart, they will both be studying chemistry.
“This is our beginning of freedom, and it always makes life a lot easier if you have someone to support your every decision even if they’re miles away” Sammie said.
“We talk about anything and everything, and that isn’t going to change.”
Jessie will attend UNC-Charlotte as a chemistry education major. Jessie won the teaching fellows award and will be required to teach for four years after graduation. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in her four years at UNC-Charlotte, using the credits she and her sister have acquired from Advanced Placement and college-levels classes in high school.
Sammie will be attending State as a chemistry pre-med major and plans to attend medical school and study mutations, diseases and Down syndrome.
“It’s going to be hard, but we can make it,” Jessie said.
Besides their college choices, there are a few ways to tell the twins apart.
“There isn’t much difference between us except our height. I’m an inch or two shorter,” Sammie said.
“And my favorite color is purple, and Sammie’s is green and blue,” Jessie said.
But other than that, you won’t find much of a difference between the girls. They favor the same music, like the same foods, wear each other’s clothing and enjoy cardio-kickboxing in their spare time.
“They’ve been coming to the kickboxing class consistently for quite some time and always show a lot of enthusiasm,” said Andrew Wah, fitness instructor at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.
“We play the same sports, like the same things. We even lost our teeth in the same way,” Sammie said.
“It was with gum,” she said.
“And broken bones around the same time,” Jessie added.
“We … finish each other’s sentences.”
While Jessie was playing catcher for the softball team, Sammie was playing third.
During swim season, people had a hard time knowing who was who.
“At swim meets and camp, we have a habit of messing people up and then walking away,” Sammie said.
“Jessie was better at the butterfly, though,” Sammie said.
Looks, sports and broken bones aren’t the only things the twins have in common.
They both received the Star Student award, served as chief junior marshals, earned places on the Salisbury Post All County Scholars and the title of co-valedictorians at North Rowan this year.
“We’ve always used each other to push ourselves. I’ll push her, she’ll push me and that isn’t going to stop,” Sammie said.
The Star Student award usually goes to one outstanding student, but the twins shared the award after teachers couldn’t choose between them.
“They are two of the best students I have taught in my entire career,” North Rowan chemistry teacher Ron King said. “They both have similar characteristics. They both are hard working; both want an understanding of the subject matter, not just a grade; and both want to excel in all that they do.”
“We want to make our parents proud,” Sammie said.
“We want to satisfy their dreams and wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for our mom. She helped push us this far,” Jessie said.
Mother Ruby Cutshaw and stepfather Avery Cutshaw are teachers at North Rowan, and the twins have a younger brother, Zach Smith, who is a sophomore at North.
“Zach is nothing like us, though,” Sammie said.
While busy writing and memorizing their speech for graduation, the twins have common beliefs on their dreams and the future.
“Dreams are the things that kept us coming back for more the first time. So don’t let your dreams stop now,” Jessie said.
“Try to reach your full potential,” Sammie said.
“It’s your responsibility to have that desire that others instilled in you,” Jessie said.
In their free time the girls enjoy fishing, bargain shopping and reading a lot.
“We have a habit of wearing each other’s clothing, and it’s going to be hard not being able to go to her closet when I can’t find something in mine,” Sammie said.
“But, we can make it,” Jessie said.
– – –
Contact Christina Lopez @ 704-797-4245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Christina Lopez