It's been said that bad things come in threes, but the reverse is certainly true for the 2012 graduating class at Sayre School in Lexington.
This year's graduating class of 47 at the small private school includes three sets of fraternal twins.
Not only that, but Headley and Chenault VanMeter, Philip and Sophie O'Rourke, and Hannah and Ben Turnbull are all close friends, and they have gone all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade together at Sayre. All of the twins are 18.
This sort of thing was not so uncommon a few decades ago, when families were less mobile, but it's considered remarkable in today's world of frequent relocations and job changes.
"All six of us have known each other basically our whole lives; we've seen each other at our best and at our worst," Ben Turnbull said. "It's been a fun ride."
Now Ben will be enrolling at the University of Virginia, while Hannah is going to attend Vanderbilt University. They are the children of Richard and Allison Turnbull.
Hannah says the three sets of Sayre twins were together so much in school they never thought of it as particularly unusual until about the time they reached high school. Since then, they've become particularly close, she said.
But now, with graduation behind them, they're facing the prospect of going their separate ways.
"It's kind of like I want to go, but I want to stay at the same time," Chenault VanMeter said. "We're all really good friends. And after 13 years, it's kind of weird knowing that you won't be seeing everybody next year."
She says she'll miss the closeness and all the activities she enjoyed at Sayre, where she played soccer and ran track at various times, served on the student council and did lots of community service work.
Chenault, who always wanted to attend a big university, will enroll at the University of Georgia this fall. Her twin, Headley, will attend Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, where he plans to play lacrosse like he did at Sayre.
"He's been a lacrosse player since he was little and always knew he wanted to play lacrosse in college," Chenault said.
Chenault and Headley are the children of Thomas VanMeter II and Gay Haggin VanMeter.
Sophie and Philip O'Rourke are the only twins that won't be splitting up for college. They're both entering Loyola University New Orleans.
They applied to several schools in various parts of the country before selecting Loyola, Sophie said. The twins were born in New Orleans, then moved to Lexington when their father, Timothy O'Rourke, became principal of the high school at Sayre. Their mother, Michele, is a fourth-grade teacher at Sayre.
"We weren't going to pick a college just because the other twin wanted to go there," Sophie said. "We wanted to make sure we were both happy. And since we were born in New Orleans we felt like we'd be at home going to school there."
Sophie plans to study communications. Philip says he's going to take environmental studies and perhaps return to Kentucky eventually to work in the Thoroughbred industry.
"Sayre has been great fun, but I think we're ready for new experiences," Philip said.
Looking back on her days at Sayre, Sophie says that being part of three sets of twins at one small school was a unique experience.
"It's kind of awesome to think that we all stayed together for 13 years," she said. "It's like we had this special connection that nobody else had. That's pretty cool, I think."
Ben Turnbull agreed.
"To me, it's really nice to see how everyone has grown up and changed over the years," he said. "It was a lot of fun at graduation remembering and talking about things that happened all the way back in kindergarten.
"Now, I guess we're spreading our wings and flying the coop."