When Grace and Faith Quinn graduate from Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School on June 4, the twin scholars will be sharing the school’s top academic honor as co-valedictorians.
And, as they head off this summer, they’ll travel to Atchison, Kansas, to attend Benedictine College, each on a full tuition, four-year scholarship.
It’s not a bit unusual for these 18-year-olds to travel the same path together.
After all, they’ve been doing it all of their lives.
Grace — who plans to double major in chemistry and computer science — is the older of the two, by 9 minutes.
Faith plans to double major, too. She’ll study chemistry and astronomy.
There’s no doubt these girls share a closeness that many twins enjoy, but perhaps they’ve developed an even deeper connection — as they’ve relied on each other, their brother Gabriel and their parents, through military family moves, from one place to another.
Throughout the frequent changes, the Quinns have had three constants: Family, church and school, the girls said, during a recent interview in their Wesley Chapel home.
Their parents are obviously supportive, and delighted by their daughters’ accomplishments.
Their dad, Pete Quinn, is perhaps their most vocal cheerleader; their mom, Kelly Quinn, while more subdued, is undoubtedly equally proud.
As their dad rattles off their accomplishments, the girls take turns, good-naturedly, rolling their eyes.
Still, the bragging rights are well-deserved.
Both girls were named National Merit Scholars, each receiving a $2,500 scholarship.
They each scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.
Their four-year tuition scholarship at Benedictine College carries a value of up to $132,000 for each of the girls, Pete Quinn said.
The twins started attending St. Anthony Catholic School, in San Antonio, in fifth grade, after the family moved to the area in 2014 from West Des Moines, Iowa.
During their middle school years, they earned straight As, played on three championship basketball teams, played on two championship volleyball teams, played tennis, and were members of the National Junior Honor Society, said their dad, a retired U.S. Army colonel.
The girls chose to attend Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, after exploring various options.
“When it came to the transition to high school, they really blossomed,” Pete Quinn said. “It (Bishop McLaughlin) was the perfect setting for them.”
The girls will graduate with a weighted GPA of 4.6, having completed 13 college-level courses.
“I anticipate them being able to come in (at Benedictine College) as first semester sophomores because of all the AP classes they’ve taken,” he said.
The girls didn’t have their heads in their books all of the time.
They also played four years of varsity basketball, achieved membership in nine honor societies, and have been involved in school plays, numerous clubs and yearbook.
Faith said her interest in astronomy began during her early years.
“I’ve always loved stars — just looking up at the night sky.
“Also, we have — it was just like a kid’s book about the constellations. It would give the myths behind them. I just loved that,” she said.
That prompted an interest in other books about stars and she now has about 15 of them, she said.
Benedictine College is the only Catholic college to offer a major in astronomy, she added.
Grace said she’s interested in pursuing computer science because : “I love the way that the logic in computers works.”
Plus, she said, “I love seeing and making connections. It’s what drew me to the sciences in the first place.”
There are lots of new opportunities, too, Pete Quinn said.
“The one career field that I recommended they give consideration to is an emerging field called astrochemistry. With all of the Space-X stuff going on … I can see those two both flourishing in slightly different roles,” Pete Quinn said.
Both parents see bright prospects for this next phase in their daughters’ lives.
“I’m so excited about where they’re going. I think Benedictine is the perfect college for them,” Pete Quinn said. “There’s no ceiling, there’s literally no ceiling, for what they can do.”
He also believes they’re ready.
“They’re very comfortable in their own skin. They really are. They’ve had each other, but they don’t have problems being by themselves,” he said.
Their mom added: “I’m excited for them. It’s a fun time of life. I remember my college days. It was neat to get out from under mom and dad, and just kind of do your own thing, find your own way and spread your wings.”
She’s confident Faith and Grace will do well.
“I think they’ve got good heads on their shoulders.
“It’s a bright world for them and I think they’ll do great things. Point them in the right direction and see how it goes,” Kelly Quinn said.
Published June 02, 2021