Twinning Ways: Central Middle School Graduates 9 Sets of Twins

The 2014 graduating class of Community Consolidated District 146's Central Middle School has double the fun—over, and over, and over ... and ... you get the drift.

Central Middle School Principal Randy Fortin high fives the Redman twins, Nicholas and Mitchell. | Credit: Lauren Traut
Central Middle School Principal Randy Fortin high fives the Redman twins, Nicholas and Mitchell. | Credit: Lauren Traut
The Redman brothers' fifth grade teachers were a bit befuddled. The two—identical twins—decided one day to switch out their backpacks, which served as reminders of which one was Nicholas, and which one was Mitchell. 

"They did their share of switching," joked mom, Jackie. "They have a lot of fun."

Now in eighth grade, the brothers have grown to embrace their twin-dom, and they're not alone.

The  Redman brothers are one of, get this—NINE—sets of twins graduating from Central Middle School in Tinley Park Tuesday night. 

The graduating class of 268 students boasts 3 sets of identical, 6 fraternal pairs—a story so special, local news stations swooped in Tuesday to meet the bunch.

Central Middle School Principal Randy Fortin and the students gathered outside the school at 5:30 a.m. to film a live segment with NBC Chicago.

The students shared twin tales with Patch, including a softball snafu for sisters Victoria and Vanessa Soliz. The identical sisters played on the same softball team, and during one game, Victoria got on base with a double. Two batters later, Vanessa stepped up to the plate. The opposing coach protested Vanessa's at-bat, believing it was Victoria up at the plate for a second time. 

"I had to go and stand next to her to prove it," Victoria said, laughing.

Fraternal pair George and Matthew Novak recounted the time Matthew stole George's pacifier right out of his mouth. The closeness can lead to bickering, they chided. 

"The most difficult part is the fighting," Matthew said. "You want to be different, do different things, be your own person."

Melanie and Shelby O'Connell's differences are stark ("She's a neat freak. She cleans all the time and expects me to, too," Shelby said), but their bond is unbeatable. 

"We're there for each other," Melanie said. "We know when something's up."

The twins' parents watched Tuesday morning, as the students stood in cap and gown, fielding Fortin's questions in the spotlight. 

"They're good kids," said Urmila Patel, of sons Love and Kush. "One has a strong personality, the other is more emotional. They're very caring to each other. ... I'm so proud of them."

Redman echoed Patel's pride, noting that though a quirky experience, raising twins has been an unforgettable one.

"I don't think there's a difficult part of it," Redman said. "I've loved every minute."

The Twin-tastic Bunch

Francesca and Joseph Villarubia
Claire and Jack Barrett
Shelby and Melanie O'Connell
Markoyan and Markayé Cross
George and Matthew Novak
Love and Kush Patel

Nicholas and Mitchell Redman
Vanessa and Victoria Soliz
Kaelan and Kieran Short

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