Yugumbir State School’s rare graduation double act

Yugumbir State School’s rare graduation double act

Yugumbir State School’s graduating Year 6 cohort of 2021 is a one-in-a-million. Literally.

In a history-making ceremony this month, four sets of twins will graduate from the class of 147 students at the Logan West primary school.

Experts say the chance of that happening in a single cohort is incredibly rare.

Deputy Principal Bridget Hawkins agreed, saying it’s very unusual.

“There is no doubt that this is going to be a very unique graduation,” Ms Hawkins said.

“The fact they have been with us since Prep makes it even more special,” she said.

The twins all recognise having a brother with them at school has been a wonderful support.

Kobe and Brock Gillman, who are both representative basketball players, said they are very close.

The brothers said it was important for people to realise that although twins look similar, they also have unique differences.

“My favourite subject is English,” said Kobe. “Mine is Maths,” Brock replied.

The brothers said they were separated into different classes in Year 4 after one of them played a prank that got his brother in trouble.

“I wrote something inappropriate on the whiteboard and Kobe got the blame for it,” Brock said.

“It’s been a good thing going into separate classes because for both of us our grades have improved,” he said.

“We learn in a different class, but we do sport and other things together,” Kobe said.

The twin’s father, Ron, said the boys are inseparable.

“They literally do everything together. The have separate bedrooms at home but 30-minutes after bedtime, one of them is in the other’s room.

“They’ve got an incredibly special bond.”

Twins Chayce and Zane Goodwin said they felt like they had a unique connection with each other.

They said the closeness involved more than just finishing each other’s sentences.

“Sometimes it’s like we know what each other is thinking,” Chayce said.

Zane, who is also the school captain, said having a twin brother meant there was always someone to support you.

“Having a twin can be annoying sometimes but it’s also great to have someone by your side.”

The boys’ mother Amanda said her twins were very close.

“Their bond is very strong. They do everything together,” she said.

“Whenever there’s an activity where they have to pair up with someone, they always choose each other.”

Amanda said their similarities did not end with their appearance.

“From the time they started school, their report cards were identical. There might be a slight difference in some marks, but the comments are always the same.

“I only need to read one report card,” she said.

Twins Riley and Beau Newman said they were good friends with the twins in their year level at school.

“When we talk about teachers mixing our names up or getting confused, they understand,” Riley said.

“Because it’s happened to them too.”

“It’s good to be able to talk about those things,” he said.

The twins said although they looked similar, each one had a unique feature such as a freckle, scar or birthmark to distinguish them.

“Once you know, it becomes easy to tell us apart,” twin Imran, said.

He said he had a scar above his eye that was different to his brother, Kamran.

All the boys said that none of their parents or grandparents were twins.

University of Queensland education expert Prof Karen Thorpe, who has been researching twins for the past 30 years, says the research shows there seems to be a rise in multiple births in Australia.

Prof Thorpe, who has led several Australian studies into twins in educational settings, says the dynamics around twins at school are also variable.

“Yes, it is highly unusual to have such a high number of twins in a single year level at school. The research tells us we could normally expect to have 1 twin in every class, on average,” Prof Thorpe said.

“To have such a large number of twins in one class is very unusual, particularly given they are also all boys…there must have been something in the water,” she laughed.

Prof Thorpe said the number of twin births in Australia is increasing.

“The estimates of twinning are going up because of two main reasons,” said Prof Thorpe.

“The first is that people are tending to have children when they are older, and this increases the chance of twins.

“The second is that people, sometimes because of this, are accessing fertility support which can also increase the incidence of twins as well,” she said.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics latest report into multiple births in December 2019, there were 4,501 multiple births annually, representing 1.5-percent of all births (305,832) in Australia.

The ABS data revealed that these multiple births included 4,446 pairs of twins.

Larissa Jordan, the Chairperson of the Australian Multiple Birth Association, says having a supportive and nurturing school community is important for twins.

“It is important for schools to ensure that they treat each multiple as an individual and not compare them or expect them to be the same academically, physically or emotionally,” Ms Jordan said.

Prof Thorpe said realising there are often important distinctions among twins helps develop individual identity.

She said the highest proportion of twins were non-identical.

“We would typically expect that two-thirds of twins would be non-identical and one-third of twins would be identical,” Prof Thorpe said.

“Twins tend to flourish in school communities because when they start school, they come with their own support network.

“Generally, twins do very well at school.

“The research tells us they tend to be very popular among their peers,” she said.

Prof Thorpe said there has also been comprehensive research conducted into whether it is best to keep twins together in a class or to separate them into different classes.

She said the research has revealed two very distinct outcomes: Go with the children’s preference and there is no fixed rule.

Ms Jordan said parents are best placed, to work out the best learning environment for their twins.

“Parents have to weigh up the pros and cons of having their multiples in the same class or different classes, considering what is best for the learning and relationships of each child,” Ms Jordan said.

Prof Thorpe said the reasons why parents may prefer to keep their twins together are usually related to the comfort that the inter-twin relationship provides.

“Many parents believe the twin relationship provides emotional support and familiarity in the new environment of the school and the choice of keeping twins with their co-twin on transition to schooling is viewed as the least disruptive option,” she said.

Coincidentally as four sets of twins leave the school, a new cohort of multiple birth siblings will start Prep at Yugumbir State School next year.

Ms Hawkins said already there were two sets of twins and one set of triplets enrolled in next year’s Prep cohort.

The graduating twins said they had some words of advice for the new multiple birth siblings starting next year.

“It’s important for you to stick up for each other,” said Riley.

Imran said: “Making sure you remind the teacher of your correct name…don’t let it slide…keep telling the teacher until they remember.

“It’s important,” he said.

The Year 6 cohort will participate in a celebratory luncheon ceremony at the school on December 9.

Further information about twins can be found at Twins Research Australia or parents can contact the Australian Multiple Birth Association | Facebook page.

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