Graduating from high school and heading to college is an exciting and scary time. Add in a pandemic, and the final moments of high school become that much more precious and memorable. Three sets of twins from Wylie High School and Abilene High School will graduate in May. We’ll follow them as they reflect on their high school memories and look forward to starting their adult life in the coming months.
Emma was born first of these fraternal twins, just a minute before Bonnie.
“It was a very important minute,” Emma said.
From then on, the girls shared everything – same room, same clothes, same friends – and they loved sharing. They wore matching clothes until 3rd grade, and then they started wearing different colors.
“I really enjoy having a best friend to grow up with,” Emma said. “I know a lot of people are like ‘don’t you hate that you’re sharing your room,’ but that’s all we’ve ever known.”
Both girls participate in activities including youth group at Beltway Park Church, student council, UIL, and S2S, a school group that helps new students find friends and get involved. This year they both branched out and tried out for the fall musical, Grease. Bonnie also works as a writer for the Pawprint, Wylie’s school paper.
But many of those activities were put on pause one year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic forced nationwide shutdowns.
“It was kind of nice to just wake up whenever I want, do assignments whenever I wanted,” Bonnie said. “We were free spirited hippies during quarantine. We walked around our neighborhood, we water-colored, I tried to learn the ukulele.”
“I learned how to ride a bike,” Emma said. “I had never learned before.”
Emma had gotten to go to prom as a sophomore, but she worried her sister wouldn’t get to have a prom experience at all. Neither twin was worried about missing out on football games, though.
“I was just sad that my last year before I grow up and go off on my own was not the stereotypical senior year,” Emma said.
The girls still had a homecoming dance with their friends, and they’re looking forward to possibly having a prom. But they also made the most of the down-time that COVID brought, including reading more, hanging out with friends at the Refuge Ranch, and getting lost together in the woods.
“It’s kind of like a club that you see in movies,” Emma said. “To get to the property, you have to cross this river on this knocked down tree that makes a bridge. I’ve never fallen into the river.”
For college plans, they’ll likely go to different schools and have very different fields of study. Bonnie is committed to the University of Texas to study film, while Emma plans to go to UTSA or Texas A&M to study forensics with a pre-law emphasis.
“I always thought we would be fine with the fact that we weren’t going to the same place,” Emma said, “but then Bonnie got into UT and it hit me that we weren’t going to the same place.”
“If she does go to A&M, I’m showing up in all of my burnt orange and not going to care,” Bonnie said.
As the more introverted twin, Emma has depended on Bonnie to make friends for the both of them over the years, so she said she’s a little worried about making friends on her own in college. Meanwhile, their parents will have an empty nest in a few months since both daughters will be leaving at the same time.
Despite having a crazy senior year, both girls say the pandemic taught them to appreciate the moments they had and the memories they made.
“We also got a whole lot closer to our friends and family,” Bonnie said. “We made more of an effort to see our friends with Zoom trivia nights.”
“Even in the difficult moments, I thought the world was ending, but there’s still really good memories that came out of it,” Emma said. “There’s really good things that happen even when I have no control in life.”
Wylie High School Seniors Kole and Kent Trumble may be twins, but they couldn’t be more different from each other.
Kole focuses on technology, doing Audio/Video at school, taking robotics classes, and working for Intellihome installing home networking security. Kent keeps his focus on sports, playing football at Wylie for four years and working for the Wylie Little League in the spring as a manager for the scorekeepers.
“I would be in the press box and he would be on the field,” Kole said.
“I like cars, mechanics, stuff like that and he’s more into computers,” Kent said.
After high school, Kole plans to study computer engineering at Texas Tech or Abilene Christian University. Kent plans to study supply chain management at Texas Tech or Texas A&M. After they graduate, their mom will still have one younger son in the house, plus her dog.
“Our mom decided to get a dog last year,” Kole joked. “She’s already replaced us.”
“Just to make it easier,” said Kelly Trumble. “I’m not ready for that yet!”
Kole was on a band trip to Disney World when the first pandemic lockdowns began. He thought they would just get a longer spring break and then go back to normal. But that didn’t happen. He had borrowed a school 3D printer before spring break, and found use for it making face shields as the lock downs went on.
“I also worked on a robotic tray for Hendrick that would move around so the nurses didn’t have to go in with a patient,” he said. “There’s a nurse that lives down the street from us and she said that she saw it being used.”
For Kent, he had been excited to have a new coach and a new defensive coordinator for football, and then the lockdowns began. Spring practices pretty much involved Zoom meetings going over plays and strategies.
“We were all ready, excited, and then that put a damper on things,” Kent said.
Although both twins felt like they were able to have a fairly normal year with in-person classes, they still learned a lot from the disappointments when the lockdown first began.
“We got to practice a lot longer. I feel like we bonded a lot more having to overcome all these issues,” Kent said. “I’ve learned to be adaptable, to be ready for whatever life throws at me.”
“If you can get through this, you can get through just about anything in the future,” Kole said.
Identical twins Tia and Faith Pupella have been able to get away with switching places. Every year during Abilene High’s spirit week, they dress the same for “Twin Day” and switch classes. To this day, their teachers didn’t know they had switched.
But when they’re not matching clothes, Tia wears dark colors and Faith wears florals and bright colors.
“She wears the gold and I wear the silver,” Faith said.
Both girls play on the tennis team, which takes up most of their time. They also volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Tia also enjoys cooking for her family, since she’s a vegetarian, so she can serve the whole family food she likes.
For college plans, the girls want to stay together and go to the same school. They’re considering the University of North Texas, the University of Texas, or Texas Tech. Faith plans to study fashion design while Tia plans to study accounting.
“Tia uses her brain to say ‘what’s the smartest, what’s going to workout best,’” Faith said. “I’m the more creative one.”
Although they both support each other and enjoy watching each other play tennis, they can’t play doubles together because they’re so competitive.
“Because we’re so close, it’s easier to get mad,” Faith said. “Instead of being like ‘it’s ok, shake it off,’ we’re more like ‘why did you do that?’”
When the pandemic lockdowns began, Tia enjoyed the time off, but Faith didn’t like being apart from friends. Although they were disappointed that homecoming and other senior events were cancelled, as the year went on, the girls became more frustrated with the changes to their tennis schedule.
“We love going on overnight trips with the team, and we weren’t allowed to do any of that this year,” Tia said.
Tia and Faith both learned to appreciate each other and not take things for granted. At one point in the year, Tia tested positive for COVID and had to quarantine in her room.
“That was so hard because I’ve never been away from Faith very long,” Tia said. “Not being able to see her face to face was super, super tough.”
“If you had told me that COVID would’ve been a thing a few years ago, I would’ve laughed,” Faith said. “So I’ve learned to be grateful for what I have.”
By Haley Laurence
Photography By Shayli Anne Photography