April 20, 2012

Twins at Roncalli excel in academics, athletics, share special bond

Twin sisters Kaitie, left, and Cassie Schultheis share just about everything in life—from earning 12 varsity letters at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis to planning on studying pharmacy in college. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

Twin sisters Kaitie, left, and Cassie Schultheis share just about everything in life—from earning 12 varsity letters at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis to planning on studying pharmacy in college. (Photo by John Shaughnessy) Click for a larger version.

By John Shaughnessy

When the announcement was made, it seemed fitting that the two young women would share the special honor from the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA).

After all, the two seniors at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis have shared just about everything else in life.

They both have the same grade point average of 4.4 on a 4.0 scale.

They both are expected to end their high school athletic careers with 12 varsity letters—four each in cross country, track and gymnastics.

And they both are members of Roncalli’s German Club, the National Honor Society and the high school Catholic Youth Organization girls’ basketball team at St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis—the parish where they also help to teach religious education classes.

They also both led Roncalli’s gymnastics team to a third-place finish in the state finals of the 2012 IHSAA tournament on March 17.

So only one choice seemed appropriate when the IHSAA presented its Mildred M. Ball Mental Attitude Award “to a senior participant in the state finals who is deemed to have best demonstrated mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability in gymnastics.”

The IHSAA gave the honor to both Cassie and Kaitie Schultheis, 18-year-old twin sisters.

Their selection marked the first time in Indiana high school gymnastics history that twins received the award.

“It’s an honor for us and an honor for our school and what they try to do here,” Kaitie says. “They instill values and good character traits that we’ll carry with us the rest of our lives.”

Cassie adds, “We get a lot of support here. It’s helped me grow as a person.”

While it’s hard to distinguish between the sisters—most people say it’s also difficult to tell them apart by appearance—it’s easy to celebrate their approach to life and their bond.

“Their deeply held conviction to being the best person they can be is unparalleled,” says Chuck Weisenbach, Roncalli’s principal. “So is their deeply held conviction to avoid those things that might detour them from being the best they can be.”

The twins embrace the special connection they have and the similarities they share.

“We’re involved in the same things, we hang out with the same people, and we’ve had the exact same class schedule for the past three years,” Cassie notes. “I like the support. I know what she’s going through, and she knows what I’m going through. We always have someone who understands. We’re close.”

Kaitie chimes in, “It kind of makes things easier. You’re never alone. You always have somebody to study with, run with, go to the gym with. And you’re never the first one to be at some place alone.”

The twin daughters of Todd and Sandee Schultheis share the same love for country music, chemistry and Carlie, their 10-year-old sister.

Ask them to share a difference between each other and it takes a while. Kaitie says her favorite color is blue while Cassie chooses pink. Both acknowledge that Kaitie is more competitive while Cassie is “more of a girly girl.”

Still, it’s a short list of differences, and the conversation soon returns to the things they share, including their plans for college. The twins plan to major in pharmacy. They also plan to room together at the same college—a choice they have narrowed to Butler University in Indianapolis or the University of Kentucky.

“I think we always knew we were going together,” Cassie says.

They also have a shared belief that their faith will help see them through the life transitions they will make.

“Growing up in Catholic schools, you learn a lot about the faith, and you’re encouraged to make it a part of your life,” Kaitie says. “And you learn to always be thankful for what you have.”

Like a twin sister who is always there for you, who always understands.

“It’s definitely a different experience that not many people have,” Kaitie says. “It’s worked out for us. It’s benefited us in so many aspects of our lives.” †

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