Derrick and Dylan Wood
Phoebe Hassaine-Bennet and Matt Hassaine.
Chloe and Rebecca Jackson
Shanayah and Sharayah (Shay) Braithwaite
Christiano and Juliano Pillari

Those with an eagle eye at our last commencement ceremonies might have thought that they were seeing double. Over and over and over again. Among this year’s graduating seniors were five sets of twins: Shanayah and Sharayah (Shay) Braithwaite; Matt Hassaine and Phoebe Hassaine-Bennett; Chloe and Rebecca Jackson; Christiano and Juliano Pillari; and Derrick and Dylan Wood.

Q&A with Matt and Phoebe

What was the decision process to go to college together?

Matt: We both got great scholarships from Hood, and the proximity to our family was a great bonus. We both knew that we’d be going to a college that would provide us with academically challenging environment. It wasn’t so much that we made a conscious decision to attend the same school, it was more just that the school appealed to both of us separately. Once we started school though we realized how convenient and fun it was to both be there.

Where are you from?

Phoebe: We were both born in Columbia, Maryland and moved to Frederick county sophomore year of high school. We lived in Myersville when we started college. I now live in Frederick.

Matt: I’m in Boonsboro, Washington County.

Where did you live during college?

Matt: I lived at home in Myersville and then Boonsboro with my parents during school, and

Phoebe: I lived in Coblentz freshman year, in Shriner sophomore year, Sunset apartments junior year, and an apartment off of 40 for senior year (where I currently live).

Did your parents try to talk you out of going to college together?

Matt: Both of our parents were extremely supportive of our decision to go to Hood. They were happy we were staying relatively close to home, and relieved that we’d both be at the same school and receiving a family discount.

Best and worst twin moments at Hood?

Matt: The best twin moments were all the times we could easily meet up after classes and head downtown to take a walk, to Chipotle for lunch, or to Whitaker for some coffee. It’s not exactly a bad thing at all, but one of the more bizarre things about having a twin on campus was always the fact that no one ever believed we were twins. We had to convince people. People also sometimes thought we were dating, which was very weird.

Q&A with Chloe and Rebecca

What was the decision process to go to college together?

Rebecca: We were in a lot of the same classes always

Chloe: Even in high school

Rebecca: It was never a question to go to college together. We are even going to the same graduate school (Eastern Carolina in North Carolina).

Did your parents try to talk you out of going to college together?

Rebecca: No. Our mom liked the idea that we would have each other.

Chloe: We’re from nearby in Mount Airy, so she’d be close to both of us.

Where did you live during college?

Chloe: We lived together all but one semester; it’s just convenient. I borrow her clothes all the time.

Rebecca: I never borrow her clothes. But we’ll always be in the same place together; I can’t imagine not living near her.

Chloe: When we’re out of school and married, we’ll live in the same city.

Rebecca: I can’t imagine being at Hood without her.

Best twin moment at Hood?

Rebecca: Played (and lost!) the roommate game to get a better lottery number.

Chloe: We were surprisingly bad at it. Our twin-telepathy wasn’t working that day.

Q&A with Shay and Shanayah

What was the decision process to go to college together?

Shay: We didn’t necessarily plan our decision process together. Shanayah was planning on going to schools that had her major.

Shanayah: Shay was going to go to a school that wanted to recruit her for Lacrosse and I was choosing between Pace University in New York and Hood.

Shay: While sending in our applications for our prospective colleges, I saw that Shanayah applied to Hood, so I decided to add that to my pool of potential colleges. I was leaning towards University of Delaware for Lacrosse. I went on my recruiting trip out there and was thinking about confirming my commitment to the Lacrosse Coach there the following week. Although a couple of days after, one of my high school Lacrosse games was rescheduled. So, I was able to attend admitted students day at Hood with my sister. Not only did I meet with the Lacrosse coach at the time, I also met with faculty and staff and of course other admitted students.  I can honestly say the vibe at Hood that day was perfect and this was the day we decided to both go to Hood College.

Did you live together all four years?

Shanayah: We have not lived together all four years. Since we’ve shared a room all our lives, we wanted a new experience and decided to not room together when we came to college.

Shay: But, we ended up rooming together junior and senior year.

Did you ever pretend to be the other one?

Shanayah: I wish! But since we are fraternal twins, we look nothing alike.

Shay:  Although, I go by “Shay” not Sharayah there has been some mix ups in that regard. Shanayah and Sharayah are so similar and confuses people, I blame my parents. I have heard people call my sister Shay at some of the Hood College Award Ceremonies.

Shanayah: It happens all the time, I guess we’re both Shay.

Did your parents try to talk you out of going to college together?      

Shay: No, if anything I think they like the idea that we were going to the same school.

Shanayah: Yeah, our mother encouraged us to go to college together and she wanted us close to home.

What are you doing after graduation?

Shay: After graduating I will immediately go into the workforce. However, I am in preparation to attend grad school in a year to pursue a master’s degree in finance. I have already acquired my references and recommendations and I’m currently studying for the GMAT.

Shanayah: Work, work, work! I’m hoping to get a job in my major after graduation and maybe travel a little – just for fun! I would love to do more school though, there’s a lot I still want to learn. But, maybe later.

Best and worst twin moment at Hood?

Shay: The only bad twin moment I have had Hood is when people send the wrong twin emails. There have been times that my sister would receive emails intended for me and vice versa, and sometimes it’s a little inconvenient.

Shanayah: Yes, they do that all the time. I’m not even phased by it anymore. I just forward all her emails to her. It happens with important documents too. They would have one for her and throw mine away, thinking we are the same person. And we have to tell them that we are twins, but that we just have similar names. “There are two of you?”, we always hear that. Yes, there are two of us. That one letter difference is very important. I think a good moment would be when people find out that we are twins or that we’re sisters. Most of the time people think we’re lying.

ShayYeah, I’m like “Guys, I’m serious. We’re twins.” It’s funny. When they find out, people are always interested in learning more about us and that’s always fun to experience. Plus, my sister is the plug when it comes to campus activities.

Q&A with Christiano and Juliano and Derrick and Dylan

What was the decision process to go to college together?

Juliano: I chose Hood first; Christiano was supposed to go to a different school

Christiano: It wasn’t on our radar to go to school together, but I was undecided.

Dylan: I had already committed to Hood; Derrick hadn’t even applied here at first. I told him to go find his own school, but I can’t imagine not being here together to experience things together.

Did you live together all four years?

Derrick: We’re the same major and in a lot of the same clubs together. It made sense to live together all four years.

Juliano: Not us. We lived together freshmen year and fought a lot. And then the fighting would come out on the soccer field; we’d get frustrated with each other.

Christiano: The first year was hard, the transition and adjustment to college in general. I thought about transferring.

Juliano: It helped a lot when he went abroad for a semester.

Christiano: It was the first time away from each other; it helped, because we realized we took each other for granted. But we also realized we shouldn’t room together.

Dylan: We are always together. I guess that maybe we’ve spent only a week apart. But we are definitely not the same person.

Derrick: As you grow older, you’re not going to have the same viewpoints and maybe you need more personal space, but you get to see it happening with the other person.

Did your parents try to talk you out of going to college together?      

Derrick: Our parents encouraged it.

Dylan: Logistically it was easier to move in and out from same place each year; and now for commencement, our parents aren’t split between two different ceremonies.

Would you do it again?

Christiano: An emphatic no! It would be interesting to redo it without Juliano, to get the experience without my twin and have a different perspective, not just for me, but also other people’s perspective of me.

Derrick: You get to share all of these experiences. Not a lot of people can even share these experiences with their sibling, let alone a twin.

Dylan: Maybe we wouldn’t live together, but I can’t imagine not being here without him.

Best twin moment at Hood?

Juliano: The conference game (soccer) against Widener. We went into overtime. I scored with an assist from Christiano.

Dylan: I think, being in MSL (Maryland Student Legislature) together.


Read this story and more in the Summer 2017 issue of Hood Magazine!

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