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Miller dealt a full house

Triplets plus eight sets of twins among the school’s population

The saying “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” has never been more true than at Miller Middle School, where teachers and administrators are perpetually left asking “Which one are you?”

The school has eight sets of twins and one set of triplets in seventh and eighth grades.

One set of twins, the Coleman brothers, are so identical that teachers cannot tell them apart.

Dillon Coleman used to have a mole above one of his eyes, and his teachers would use that as a marker to tell the two apart. But they were left in the dark again after he had it removed.

Nine sets of twins and triplets in one school may sound high, but the birth rate for twins is increasing.

The twin birth rate in the United States and Colorado rose 76 percent from 1980 to 2009, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Now, about 1 of every 30 babies born in the U.S. is a twin, compared with 1 in every 53 babies in 1980.

The report attributes the rise in availability and use of infertility treatments and women giving birth at an older age as the reasons for the increase.

Do any of the sets ever switch places? Absolutely.

Callie and Whitney Huckins are identical twins, and their teachers were none the wiser when the two switched places in third grade.

Principal Tam Smith can relate. He has an identical brother, and tricking their teachers was a common practice for the duo.

“We drove our teachers nuts,” he said.

Identical twins Alicia and Frankie Romero are far kinder.

“When I meet someone new, I make sure to tell them that I have a twin, so they know they’re not delusional if they think they see me somewhere else,” Alicia Romero said.

Having a twin or triplet means more than tricking parents and teachers, though.

All of the sets said it’s like having a best friend and a special confidant. It’s also a comfort having someone to help with homework.

They may look alike, but JJ, Jeb and Jackson Steigleman have different interests and skills, which comes in handy if one is confused about that day’s lesson.

One of the myths surrounding twins is they have telepathy and, while none of the sets at Miller Middle School claim to have that power, they do say they understand each other even when other people don’t.

“I’ll say something and my mom won’t understand me, but Connor does,” Dillon Coleman said.

Even if twins don’t have telepathy, being part of a set gives them skills that will last a lifetime.

“You’re always in a team atmosphere, and that helps later on,” Smith said. “My earliest memory is having my brother right next to me. We did everything together.”

jdahl@durangoherald.com

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