Twins For the Record

An Illinois school may have the most pairs of twins in one grade

Jun 12, 2013 | By Justin Chan with AP reporting
SCOTT EISEN—AP

Highcrest Middle School in Wilmette, Illinois, has a possibly record-setting 24 pairs of twins in the fifth grade.

Eleven-year-old twins Luke and Ryan Novosel of Wilmette, Illinois, had a goal. The fifth-graders wanted to set a Guinness world record. Some of their friends had already tried to jump on a pogo stick longer than anyone else. One even attempted to produce the loudest burp. But none of them came close.

Ryan Novosel (left) and his twin brother Luke (right) hope that Guinness World Records will recognize their school for having the most sets of twins in a single grade.
SCOTT EISEN—AP
Ryan Novosel (left) and his twin brother Luke (right) hope that Guinness World Records will recognize their school for having the most sets of twins in a single grade.

Then Luke and Ryan realized that there were lots of other twins in their grade at Highcrest Middle School. They did a full count, and were amazed to discover 24 sets of twins in all. Most of them are fraternal, or non-identical. Of those 24 sets, three are boy-boy, 11 are girl-girl, and 10 are boy-girl. There are only two pairs of identical twins—all girls.

“We were absolutely shocked,” Luke and Ryan’s mother, Nancy Fendley, told the Associated Press. The boys figured they now had their Guinness record: most pairs of twins in one grade. The current record is 16 pairs, and is shared by Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in Iowa, Staples High School in Connecticut, and Maine South High School in Illinois.

Proving the Point

Earlier this year, Luke and Ryan—with help from their parents—sent an application to Guinness. They added birth certificates, photos, and proof that all of the sets of twins attend Highcrest Middle School. They expect to hear back in several weeks on whether they actually set a new world record.

“The whole school thinks it’s the greatest thing,” Fendley said. “It’s been such a fun, creative experience.”

Twins on the Rise

Since 1980, twin birth rates have more than doubled in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The age of mothers has gone up over the years, and women in their 30s are more likely to give birth to twins. In 2009, one in every 30 infants was born a twin, compared with one in 53 infants in 1980.

For Highcrest Middle School, that rise in twin births could be a ticket into the record books.

Dave Palzet, the school’s principal, said he is proud of his students’ effort. “I think it is wonderful that [they] have taken it on themselves to research and work with the world record officials to obtain this great honor for Highcrest Middle School,” he wrote in an email to TFK.