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Bellaire High School’s Connelly twins may look alike, but they have forged two very different paths in high school.
Caitlin is varsity swim captain, loves Spanish and will attend Texas Christian University. Gillian is a varsity cheerleader, likes art and history, and will attend Texas A&M. So imagine their mother’s surprise when the calculations for GPA and class rank came back: The girls have the exact same numbers.
“I found it odd that they had exactly the same GPA and class rank,” said Elizabeth Connelly, who teaches second grade at Horn Elementary school. “I thought there must be a mistake, so I contacted the school to verify the information. But it’s correct.” Caitlin and Gillian both have a 3.8 GPA and a class rank of 208 out of 789 students at Bellaire.
Caitlin is going to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth to study special education, and Gillian is going to Texas A&M University to study Environmental Design. The twins have attended the same schools until now, and when asked if they are worried about the upcoming separation, they said no, because they will be less than three hours apart.
Caitlin’s interest in special education began because the girls have a cousin who has special needs. Both sisters have been members of Best Buddies at Bellaire all four years, and Caitlin is president of the club. Best Buddies creates the opportunity for one-to-one friendships between students, and the twins have been working with Bellaire’s special education classes for four years. After college, Caitlin plans to get a master’s degree and work in special ed administration.
Gillian will be learning the various aspects of Environmental Design, which are offered through the Texas A&M Department of Architecture. This includes design, urban planning, landscape architecture, construction science, etc. “I have wanted to go to A&M for as long as I can remember,” Gillian said.
Caitlin spent a summer studying in Panama for two weeks, living with a host family and practicing her Spanish. Both girls love to travel. A couple of years ago, their family traveled through Ireland and England for two weeks.
The girls have jobs and will be working this summer as they transition to college. Caitlin is head lifeguard and swim coach at one of the City of Bellaire pools, and Gillian is an aquatic aid. Freshman orientation is coming up in June as well. Both girls plan to live on campus with roommates. Gillian knows “tons” of fellow seniors going to A&M, but Caitlin is the only Bellaire senior going to TCU.
“Part of me is ready to go to college and be on my own, but the other half doesn’t want to leave,” Gillian said. “Yesterday we had our last Best Buddies party, and I started crying. These are our kids! We have been with them for four years. That got to me, and I got so sad.”
Caitlin and Gillian have been very active in extracurricular activities. They are both in National Honor Society and National Charity League, a mother-daughter community-service organization. Both were members of Future Farmers of America and love animals. They have three dogs that they are “really going to miss,” but they are ready for the new challenges that college will bring.