Eagle Valley grads cross into the future
Feeding her 2-year-old daughter Morgan her first dose of medicine, Karen Strakbein asked her what it tasted like.”Like bubblegum,” answered Amy, Morgan’s twin sister, from across the room. Karen Strakbein knew a special bond connected her twins. Sixteen years later, Morgan and Amy still maintain a special closeness. Sunday afternoon, they sat side by side in matching caps and gowns waiting to graduate in the top ten of their Eagle Valley High School class.”It tickles me to death to watch them grow and struggle together,” said Mark Strakbein, who is not only their father but also their principal. “I’m proud of them as women who want to impact the world.”
Morgan and Amy, who have never spent more than two days apart, have always been inseparable. “It’s like having a built-in best friend. I’ll never be alone,” Amy said. But at the same time, it is hard to be an individual when she depends on Morgan for so much, she said.So when making college plans, the biggest decision was whether to stay together.
“It would be so hard to go from hanging out every minute to only seeing each other every few months,” Amy said. With that in mind, they both enrolled in Colorado State University for the fall, where Morgan will major in political science and Amy will wait to declare her major. They will live in separate rooms but hope to be in the same dormitory, which means they will still have to deal with the stigma of being twins.”Our close friends think of us as individuals, but to everyone else we’re ‘the twins,'” Morgan said. Tired of correcting people who mistake them for one another despite their differences – Amy is messier and more outgoing, Morgan said she’s preppier – the girls respond to both names. Eventually, they want to live next door to each other and raise their children together in a small town like Eagle. Morgan and Amy will share their futures like they’ve shared their past.
By the time Mark Strakbein stepped in as principal at EVHS, Morgan and Amy were already sophomores. “We already established ourselves as Morgan and Amy, not the principal’s daughters,” Amy said. It was weird, they agreed, hearing their father’s rules from home – know right from wrong and do what’s right, always do your best, treat people with respect – over the loudspeaker at graduation.
“He has the same expectations for us as our principal that he does as our dad,” Morgan said. The girls, along with the rest of their class, exceeded those expectations. Of the 140 EVHS graduates, 33 had a grade point average of at least 3.75 and 18 had a 4.0 or higher. But the class excelled at more than academics and extracurricular activities.”We put a lot of responsibility on them as leaders,” Mark Strakbein said during the ceremony. “You name it, they did it together.”Valedictorian Will James and salutatorian Cassidy Warner continued the team effort by delivering their speech as a pair. They offered Ghandi’s advice to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” The world will be full of changes for these graduates, Mark Strakbein said. To illustrate the first change, he placed a piece of duct tape across the stage for each graduate to step over.
“Once they cross this line, they will not be the same,” Mark Strakbein said.Brooke Bates can be reached at email@example.comVail, Colorado