Matt and Morgan Genelin: Over-achieves, times two | VailDaily.com

Matt and Morgan Genelin: Over-achieves, times two

Cindy Ramunno
Special to the Daily
Before — the Genelin twins when they were elementary age.
Photos special to the Daily |

EAGLE —Matt and Morgan Genelin are over-achievers, times two.

The Eagle Valley High School Genelin twins know what it takes to succeed. Both will graduate with top honors in Gypsum on May 23. They have lived in Eagle – in the same house – their entire lives and attended Eagle Valley Elementary and Eagle Valley Middle School before EVHS. And, of course, they have participated in all of the fun activities that the valley offers.

When Genelins were just 10 years old, their family experienced a deep and profound tragedy when mom Laura Genelin passed away from stage 4 cancer.

“It’s hard losing a parent, because I no longer had that role model,” said Morgan.

But the twins grew stronger from that devastating experience.

“It was not only incredibly emotionally crippling, but also strengthening,” said Matt.

Morgan emphasized that when family tragedies happen, it’s important not to close yourself off from others.

“People that are still in our lives are the most important people to us,” she said. “So even when we lose someone we care about, we should not forget about the people we still have.”

Matt believes losing his mom has made him a better man.

“I turned to fund-raising (he’s raised upwards of $19,000 for cancer research), educating, and learning to make sure that one day, I can change the world,” he said.

Smiling down

EVHS staff member and theater director Cathy Strickler believes the Genelins’ mother is smiling down from heaven when she watches her twins.

“Their mom would be so proud of her beautiful kids and the wonderful young adults they have become,” said Strickler.

Their guardian angle will watch as the twins head off to Boulder this fall to attend the University of Colorado. Matt will major in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and Morgan will double major in business and political science. Matt was named a Boettcher Scholar Finalist and has received a scholarship from the Marjorie Skiff Rose Fund through CU. Morgan has been accepted into the prestigious Leeds School of Business honors program. As class salutatorian, she spoke at the EVHS commencement ceremony.

In the future, Morgan envisions herself working as a lawyer while Matt wants to become an orthopedic surgeon. They say their coursework at EVHS has prepared them to take on their college studies.

“We have a lot of classes at EVHS that other schools don’t have, and I was fortunate to be able to take them,” said Morgan.

Matt thinks the close-knit community and support available at EVHS also had an effect. “The staff is stellar, and the administration is the best out there,” said Matt.

Before committing themselves to years of academic rigor, the duo will experience an amazing family cruise. This summer Matt will be working at Sip Coffee Shop in Gypsum and Morgan serving as a nanny for a local family.

Alike, but different

Always having each other most definitely contributed to the twins’ success, but they are also very different. Strickler said both were a pleasure to have in drama club, and both were always completely committed to whatever challenges they faced.

“As I watched them interact on stage during musicals, I realized that even though they’re twins, they are still normal siblings with their many differences,” said Strickler.

Although the two had the occasional typical sibling bickering, and the annoyance of sharing a birthday, they wouldn’t trade being a twin for anything.

“I never really got bored because I always had someone to hang out with with,” said Morgan. “And it was really great to have him when I was figuring out applying for college, dorms and everything.”

Matt said it was great having a consistent study partner and being in many of the same classes as his sister.

“One of the best things that growing up as a twin has given me is always having that one person to be able to run to in times of trouble,” he said.

Both agree that making the most out of tragedies and perseverance in life are the keys to success, and that family is everything.

“My dad and sisters are the most influential people in my life, and I couldn’t do it without their constant love and praise. I love them,” said Matt. “Pay attention to the small things in life, and live every day like it’s your last.”