Twins at Solon High School (SHS)

Drew (left) and Riley (right) Lavine on their senior homecoming night.

Tracey Lavine

Drew (left) and Riley (right) Lavine on their senior homecoming night.

Hannah Levenson, Editor-in-Chief

In Solon High School, there are multiple sets of twins in every grade, with the current senior class having the most sets of twins. As of 2020, 31.9 per 1,000 live births in the United States were twin births. This rate is expected to rise as the ages of women having children has continued to increase– twin pregnancies are more common in women over 35-years-old and the rate increases with more accessible fertility treatments.

SHS seniors Drew and Riley Lavine were conceived through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) after their parents experienced difficulty having another child following the birth of the twins’ older brother. According to the Lavine twins, they have always been close with each other.

“I was very protective of [Drew],” Riley Lavine said. “My mom used to say that I was like his mom because he was, I guess, not as mature [as I was]. I always made sure he was doing what he was supposed to be doing,”

Drew also agreed that Riley’s presence made his childhood easier.

“It was very comforting [when I was younger],” Drew Lavine said. “Just having someone there with you, like another person there with you at all times.”

The Lavines explained that one of the benefits of being twins of the opposite sex is that for the most part, they have their own separate friend groups that occasionally interact with each other.

“It’s been easy with our friends since we are boy-girl [twins],” Riley Lavine said. “We don’t have any overlap. There is not a lot of drama.”

SHS freshman Ashley (left) and Alyssa (right) Rhee. (Hannah Levenson)

Freshmen Alyssa and Ashley Rhee are same-sex fraternal twins. According to the girls, one of the benefits of being a fraternal twin is that they are less likely to get mixed up by other people. As a result, they believe they are able to maintain a better sense of individuality.

“A lot of people don’t know that I have a twin because we don’t look alike,” Ashley Rhee said. “Instead of being labeled as Alyssa’s twin, I get to have my own identity before people find out I have a twin. [With] identical twins, other people can see that you’re identical, and other people will be like ‘oh they’re twins, that’s like their entire thing.’”

The Rhees also added that if they do get mixed up, they attributed it to the fact that both their names start with the same letter.

SHS juniors Sophia (left) and Grace (right) Chen. (Hannah Levenson)

Juniors Grace and Sophia Chen, who are also same-sex fraternal twins, compete together on SHS’s swim team. They believe that one of the hardest parts about being a twin, or having a sibling close in age, is that the sense of competition between siblings is heightened.

According to the Chens, they feel that because they compete a lot against each other, it has helped them strengthen their skills both academically and athletically.

“We are definitely very competitive with each other,” Sophia Chen said. “I think it also has helped us cause we both swim–it helped us a lot…I think that if we weren’t twins, I don’t know if I would be as good as I am. I don’t think I would be where I am because competing with each other really helped us push ourselves.”

SHS freshmen Hannah (left) and Keira (right) Merryman. (Hannah Levenson)

When freshmen Hannah and Keira Merryman were born, their doctor told their mother that she would have fraternal twins. Both twins explained that as years went by, they questioned whether or not they were fraternal twins, as their appearances were very similar. A few years ago, the Merrymans received DNA testing kits and found out they were, in fact, identical twins.

“My mom always said that she thought we were identical and never believed that we were fraternal,” Hannah Merryman said. “When [the DNA tests] came back, it was a shocker. We were told and thought for 10 years that we were fraternal.”

Although their genetic composition is identical, the twins have their differences in appearance, style and interests. In the past, the girls had a shared closet but now opt to keep their clothes separate. Additionally, Hannah has pink tinsel and highlights in her hair, while Keira has silver tinsel in her hair. But despite their own personalities and individualities, the Merryman twins feel pressured to be alike.

“We are kind of expected to do the same stuff,” Keira Merryman said. “If we wanna do something, we usually just do it together because we like it.”

Hannah Merryman explained that this phenomenon was more prevalent when she and her sister were younger.

“When we were younger and still going to birthday parties,” Hannah Merryman said. “It was like ‘oh one of them is invited, the other one has to go’…I remember one time only I [was invited to a birthday party], and Keira wasn’t. Someone didn’t show up, so she was able to go.”

Although the Merryman’s have the same school schedule, the twins plan on going into separate career paths after graduation, which to them could mean separate colleges. However, they stated that if they ended up at the same school, they would be roommates since there is already a bond and level of trust between each other.

The Rhee twins stated that they will likely go to separate colleges as it would fuel their competitive spirit against each other.

The Chen twins stated that they have not thought about attending college together, however, they do that college will be a time for them to branch out from each other, even if they attend the same place.

For senior twins Riley and Drew, they plan to go to separate colleges, as Drew will be attending Michigan State University, while Riley is still undecided.

“It’s going to be quite the adjustment,” Drew Lavine said. “It’s still comforting to have someone to reach out to, even if they are all the way across the country. [However], It will be an adjustment not seeing [Riley] every day and not doing things together.”