By Manisha Panthee, features editor
When South Middle School social studies teacher Mrs. Cronin called out Jessica Kowalczyk’s name during attendance, she yelled “present” with a giggle. The kids all around her knew why she was laughing. In another room, the same thing was happening with a girl identical to “Jessica.” Unbeknownst to the teachers, the girls were lying straight through their teeth. For this day only, Jessica and Stephanie Kowalczyk, a pair of seventh-grade twins, had switched classes.
“The teachers just laughed at us [when they found out],” now senior Jessica
said. “I knew they wouldn’t care.”
Similarly to their teachers, many people aren’t able to tell the difference
between the twins at first.
“It was hard for me to tell them apart for a good while,” their senior friend
Sloane Petlak said. “Now I never mix them up because I’ve known their faces for so long.”
For those that look closer, they might notice the small scar on Jessica’s chin
that she received from a dog when she was six. According to Jessica, that’s the biggest way to tell them apart.
Their faces might be identical, but their personalities are not. According to
Petlak and the twins, Jessica is sarcastic while Stephanie can be more goofy and outgoing.
As with any siblings, there has always been competition between the
Kowalczyk twins, even over things as insignificant as height. This is partly due to them being in the same classes.
Their older sister Emily, who is currently a junior in college, used to see this
competition firsthand with grades and basketball. For the most part, “it’s just banter and goofing around, but it can go too far where one of us gets too serious and is mean to the other,” Jessica said.
In a way, the competitiveness can be beneficial because they push each other
to do well.
“I want to be the best at what I do but at [some] point, it’s selfish,” Jessica
said. “I’ll always support her in school and [want to] see my sister be successful.”
According to Jessica, when one of them is rude to the other, they resolve this
by giving each other the silent treatment until one gives up and apologizes to the other.
“They’re either best friends or they’re fighting,” Petlak said. “It’s a fun
dynamic to be around because they’re both so energetic and feed off each other’s energy.”
When the twins do fight, Petlak and other friends laugh it off. Most of their fights are due to the two dressing similarly. Petlak recalled how they would often wear almost the same outfit to school and wouldn’t notice until they got into their car at the end of the day.
In true twin fashion, their parents would dress them in the same outfits when
they were babies on days like Halloween, Christmas and picture day at school. Now that they are older, they dislike dressing alike, although they have similar styles.
“We always look at each other, roll our eyes and tell the other to go change,”
Jessica said. “Most of the time no one changes and we go to school looking the same because we are both stubborn.”
They both believe they’re closer than just siblings due to the fact that they’re
twins. According to the two, “twin telepathy” is real. The amount of times they have said the same thing is “unreal.”
“I guess the best part is always having someone to talk to and hang out [with]. My favorite memories would be watching each other get better and be successful,” Jessica said. “When I think about [what it would be like] if I wasn’t a twin, it would be super weird and sad.”
Despite their good relationship, not everything is fun and games.
“I [dislike] having to share literally everything,” Jessica said. “If we go on
vacation, we share a suitcase and a bed when my older sister gets all her own things.”
They’ve never shied away from being known as twins, even though it gets
frustrating at times.
“Being a twin–– that’s something I’m always referred to. It’s normal for me,” Stephanie said.
Even though this may be true, Stephanie and Jessica don’t like that they are always considered a package deal.
“Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be on my own and do things
alone,” Stephanie said.
In elementary school, the girls were put into basketball by their parents and
they both ended up loving the sport. Currently, the twins both play varsity basketball at Prospect and are considering playing in college. They don’t know their top prospects yet but they are looking at the same colleges, even though they might end up at different places.
“When I think about not seeing her [everyday], it’s unimaginable,” Jessica
said. “The biggest change would be not having someone to talk to 24/7— and having my wardrobe cut in half.”
They’re not sure what will happen until they see where they get accepted.
“Jessica is my rock,” Stephanie said. “[She] is always there for me and I can
depend on her for anything. It would feel weird to be disconnected [from] someone I’m with [all the time]. It would be hard to get used to.”