Identical twins preparing to go their separate ways

Up until now, identical twins Amanda and Rachel Powers have led nearly identical lives.
Left to right: Rachel and Amanda Powers are graduating top two in their class at Hadley-Luzerne High School.
Left to right: Rachel and Amanda Powers are graduating top two in their class at Hadley-Luzerne High School.

Up until now, identical twins Amanda and Rachel Powers have led nearly identical lives.

The 17-year-olds were in the same high school classes and clubs and on the same sports teams. They both studied Spanish and played in the band. They love to swim, snowmobile, kayak, hike, dance and ride horses.

They didn’t both earn the title of valedictorian for Hadley-Luzerne High School’s Class of 2014, but it was close. Their grade-point averages were less than one-tenth of a point apart. Rachel is class valedictorian, and Amanda’s the salutatorian.

High school principal Beecher Baker said this is the first time, to his knowledge, that twins have been at the top of the class.

“You couldn’t ask for better young ladies than these girls when it comes down to it,” he said. “And they’re going to have great careers.”

As the girls pondered what to say in their graduation speeches, they talked with excitement and a bit of uncertainty about the future. When they head off to college, it will be the first time their paths diverge.

Rachel, who wants to work as an equine veterinarian, plans to attend SUNY Geneseo. Amanda will go to LeMoyne College in Syracuse, where she’ll study to become a physician’s assistant.

“Its manageable, but it’s still not like we can just run down the street and see each other,” said Rachel. “And we identify ourselves as twins, and it’s not going to be like I’m going to be introducing myself and my sister. [It’ll be] just me, and nobody will know I’m a twin, so it’s almost like an identity crisis.”

The girls said they have been good friends since they were little and enjoyed attending school together.

“We always have somebody to study with and do homework with at night. We help each other,” Amanda said.

The twins admitted they spent much of their time studying in high school, but never were saddled with the stereotype of being nerds. They figure that’s because at a small school, students wear all sorts of hats.

“It’s easier to kind of not get stuck with, ‘Oh, you do theater, you do band, you do sports,’ because it’s such a small pool of kids that you kind of have to do everything,” Rachel explained. “I think it’s easier because we’ve been able to do band and sports and focus on school, too, so it’s not like you just define yourself as a jock or a nerd or something.”

The twins insisted they’re not all that smart; they just work hard.

“I just think there’s some kids who could blow us out of the water. They’re 10 times smarter than us, but they put in a tenth of the work,” Rachel said.

When not focusing on their academics, the twins played soccer, basketball and the flute. They were also both involved with the National Honor Society, Key Club, Math Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.

The girls said their teachers took an interest in their future and stressed the opportunities that await them now that their secondary education is complete.

“I think they care about where we go after school,” Rachel said. “Not just like, get us through high school, but make something of ourselves. I think they try to show us that there’s more to life than high school and Lake Luzerne, so we can kind of break out of it. Not that there’s anything bad with it, but just that there’s a world outside.”

Although eager to explore the outside world, the girls have great affection for their hometown of Lake Luzerne.

“Our town is really compassionate and supportive,” said Amanda. “It’s amazing to watch us come together and really help people who are having problems and stuff like that.”

After college, the girls may once again go separate ways. Rachel said she’s thinking about living in Montana, while Amanda plans to stay closer to home.

“I’m thinking more like Saratoga or something,” she said.

Reach Gazette reporter Kelly de la Rocha at 395-3040 or [email protected] and on Twitter @KellydelaRocha.

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