“How many of you have older siblings who drive you insane?” ninth grader Dan Pring asked his fellow Fenn students gathered in Ward Hall as he began his Senior Reflection. Many boys, as was predictable, raised their hands or applauded.
Dan has an older brother—by twelve minutes: his identical twin, Sam. Dan and Sam sometimes trick people into believing one is the other; in fact, it was Sam who walked to the front of the hall, identifying himself as Dan and wearing his brother’s jacket. They quickly switched roles, and, to appreciative laughter, Dan proceeded with his reflection.
Having an identical twin is a blessing but sometimes a challenge, Dan said in an interview following his reflection. People sometimes expect the two boys to be equally capable academically or otherwise, he explained, or to have the same personalities and to like the same things. But each boy is his own person. Dan tends to be quiet and reflective, while his brother is gregarious and verbal. “I’m better on paper, when I can think of what I want to say,” said Dan.
During the ninth grade Poetry Slam in March, one of the original poems Dan shared was about being a twin. Musing on people’s assumptions about twins he wrote in part:
They think of how I look
How my face is identical to my brother’s
How our appearance is almost perfectly the same
They see me as a copy of him
A replica that can never be.
As an older brother, Sam can be bossy (“I could go on about this for hours,” Dan joked). But his twin “brings good to my life, too,” he declared. And like typical siblings they argue sometimes, particularly over who should do the chores; the boys are responsible for helping maintain the household, and doing the laundry is their responsibility. They also clean their own dishes after meals. No cooking is involved, however, as Dan’s grandparents, who live with them, “don’t trust me in the kitchen—they’re afraid I’ll burn the house down.”
The brothers play soccer and basketball together (“But we can get intensely competitive”) and enjoy watching TV shows and playing games. Sometimes Sam and Dan team up to play soccer against the rest of the family, which includes their eight-year-old sister, Alyssa, and they concoct “some crazy tactics” so that they can win.
At Fenn, Dan plays soccer and basketball and is on the track team. He is a member of the Student Diversity Committee, is a Big Brother to a younger boy—they spend time together in the gym and makerspace or on the turf—and serves as a Peer Advocate. When he graduates in June, Dan will miss the close connections he has had with his Fenn teachers, “which makes my classes more fun.”
Among Dan’s favorite Fenn experiences is his class trip to Camp Caribou last fall, during which four friends—Jake Harvey, Tad Scheibe, Sam Farley, and Andrew Metellus—tried to teach his brother and him to swim. “They were very patient,” Dan said, smiling at the memory.