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Multiple births leave teachers seeing double, triple

ALEXANDRIA, S.D. -- Aselin and Emilee Kayser, third-graders at Hanson School District, once swapped clothing and accessories to fool their grandparents -- and it worked.

Hanson School District multiples
The Hanson School District has 10 sets of multiples attending the school in Alexandria. The group includes seven sets of twins and three sets of triplets. Photos by Chris Huber/Republic

ALEXANDRIA, S.D. -- Aselin and Emilee Kayser, third-graders at Hanson School District, once swapped clothing and accessories to fool their grandparents -- and it worked.

Aselin and Emilee are identical twins, one of seven sets at the school.

"She wore my glasses, and we changed clothes and coats," Emilee said.

The girls fooled their grandparents for about 10 minutes and then started laughing.

The Hanson School District, which has 300 total students, not only has seven sets of twins but also has three sets of triplets this school year.


Most of the 23 multiples were born into the district, said Susan Blankenship, elementary principal. A few sets moved into the district.

This past week, the children gathered in the school's multipurpose room for an interview with The Daily Republic. Immediately, one little boy was mistaken for his brother.

"He's Conner, I'm Carter," said Carter Endorf.

Conner, Carter and Kendra Endorf are pre-kindergarten students. The Endorfs are pretty shy, but say they get along well both in and out of school.

The kindergarten classroom has two sets of twins in Avery and Alyssa Moschell and Elijah and Dawson Schroeder.

Avery and Alyssa are typical sisters who fight over certain things, like who's going to wear what. They are in the same classroom, but said they don't get along all the time.

Elijah and Dawson said they get along well and don't fight at school.

First-graders Peighten, Hayden and Hadley Wallace all look very much different and have no trouble standing out as individuals. They said Hadley is often mistaken for the oldest because he is the tallest. Hadley is actually the youngest sibling while Peighten is the oldest.


The Wallaces squabble quite a bit but get their work done at school, they said.

The third grade hosts two sets of twins and a set of triplets -- the Kaysers, Tanner and Toby Haag, and Tanner, Tyson and Thailan Hallman.

The Haag brothers said they quarrel often.

"He's really annoying," whispered Tanner, pointing at Toby, who laughed.

They wrestle in and out of school, and have been separated in class.

Thailan Hallman said he is regularly the mediator for his two brothers, Tyson and Tanner. The triplets said they get along well, but Tyson and Tanner do fight.

During the interview, the boys switched spots several times before settling on which side of Thailan to sit.

Thailan patiently waited for them to work it out, with a coy smile on his face.


Seventh-graders Austin and Drew Robinson said they are fraternal twins, but are often mistaken for each other.

"I have a scar on my left eye," said Drew, explaining many distinguish the two with small physical features like that scar.

The two share sports as a common interest and typically fight at home. Oddly enough, the pair has two older step-brothers who are also twins.

Faculty and staff have their own ways of keeping multiples straight.

She said having so many multiples in the school isn't a challenge, but is fun.

Eighth-graders Kierra and Tasha Determan said they've never thought of each other as the other's twin.

They often work together on homework and school projects, fight at home like other siblings and have the same friends.

The oldest twins in the school are ninth-graders Deanna and Kevin Muilenburg.


The twins grew up together until about two years ago when their parents divorced. Kevin now lives with his dad in the country and Deanna lives with her sister in town. Living in town allows Deanna to be more involved in extracurricular activities like volleyball, oral interpretation and track, she said.

Even though they don't live in the same home, Deanna and Kevin said they enjoy their time together in school and their time away from each other.

When asked whether they look forward to seeing each other every day at school, Kevin said, "I don't know about that," and laughed.

The twins enjoy sharing many of the same friends and interests, but seem to disagree on whether they've always gotten along.

Preschool triplets
Triplets, from left, Kendra, Connor and Carter Endorf work on a Presidents Day activity during preschool Tuesday. Chris Huber/Republic

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