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Kasson-Mantorville schools seeing double

There are eight sets of twins in the fifth grade at Kasson-Mantorville. Pictured, from left, front row: Reid Spreiter, Cade Spreiter, Kaleb Thiesse, Jakob Thiesse, Robert Turner, Claire Turner, Breton Claseman, Ian Claseman. Row 2: Allen Greenslade, Jesse Greenslade, Isaac Threinen, Emily Threinen, Kayla Schubert, Malia Schubert. Row 3: Warren Kerkhoff and Wilson Kerkhoff.

KASSON — Sixteen students in Kasson-Mantorville's fifth-grade class are twins, all together since first grade. Elementary school teacher Bryan Johnson took pictures of them in first grade and then in fourth grade when they moved to the middle school.

Coincidentally, Johnson says, there are another eight sets of multiples in second grade this year in the K-M school. That includes seven sets of twins and one set of triplets.

"Must be something in the water," he said.

Kasson-Mantorville's rate far exceeds the national average of about 3 in 100 births resulting in twins. The rate is from statistics issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In K-M's fifth-grade class, some of the twins are identical and some are fraternal. Do they try to fool other people? "Sometimes Kayla and Malia do," said their mother, Christy Schubert, "Especially if someone encourages them."


On the other hand, Heather Link, mother of Warren and Wilson Kerkhoff, said it kind of bothers her twins that people can't tell them apart. They are so different but they look alike, she said. The boys are inseparable, she said.

Since the Twins played their season-opener Monday, I asked the mothers, "Are they into the Minnesota Twins?"

"No, its video games, video games, video games," said Link, laughing.

The two sets of boy-girl twins are close friends. Sherry Threinen, mother of Emily and Isaac Threinen, said it surprised her but they are just as close as she would think twins of the same gender would be. "It is a pleasant surprise," she said.

Kristy Turner, mother of Claire and Robert Turner, said the two are close. Though, when they were little, the twins were cute in their Twins outfits, "we're kind of lame sports fans," Turner joked.

Wendy Claseman said her boys are very close. "Breton and Ian are joined at the hip. They're a leader and a follower. They compliment each other," she said. The boys, who are Twins fans, went to the 2002 Twins Day when they were about 18 months old. "It was a little overwhelming," Claseman said. But they hope to attend another Twins Day game now that the boys are older.

Do any of the twins come from families with multiple sets of multiples?

Sheri and Darren Spreiter have another set of twins — girls, age 4.


The two 11-year-old boys, Cade and Reid, are complete opposites, she said, but they'd be there for each other in a pinch. They also help babysit the twin girls, she said. And yes, they love any Minnesota team. "We'd love to go to more Twins games," she said.

Jakob and Kaleb Thiesse are close, said their mom, Carrie Hall. "But they're not identical twins," she said.

And they definitely have different tastes. "Caleb likes the Twins, Jakob couldn't care less," said Hall.

Leanne Greenslade, mother of Allen and Jesse Greenslade, said her boys aren't identical, either. Are they close? "Not so much," she said.

So, how do the schools handle the twins?

Mary Kay Johnson, middle school secretary, said the school usually puts twins in separate classrooms but on the same team, which is like a homeroom.

But there's no specific policy, so if a parent requested the same classroom, the request would be considered.

At the elementary school, Principal Michelle Krell said that twins are typically placed in different classes unless parents request they be placed in the same classroom. "We've done it both ways and it always worked out," she said in an e-mail.

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