By Greg Gelpi
The ties that bind Mt. Zion High School's Class of 2005 are more than friendships, as nine sets of twins prepare to graduate.
Saturday's graduation marks the end of a joint journey for many of these twins as they set their sights on different paths.
"We've been together quite a while," Durrell Stone, 17, says of him and his identical twin brother Danny Stone.
The two play soccer together and attend Mt. Zion, but are now headed to different colleges, as Danny heads to Georgia Southern and Durrell heads to DeVry.
The two are so much alike that the twins say their own mother mixes them up at times.
"Most people don't get the pleasure of being a twin," Yaw Afari-Dwamena Sr., 18, says, adding that help with studies is never far away with a twin.
He and his twin Yaw Afari-Dwamena Jr. were born in Ghana and will be among the twins graduating from Mt. Zion.
"When I get in trouble, he gets blamed for it," Yaw Afari-Dwamena Jr. says and the reverse happens as well.
Although they aren't sure where they will be going, they plan to attend different colleges after graduating.
The bond of going to school together is stronger for twins, Faith Jones, 18, says.
"I can tell when she's upset and when she's happy," she says of her twin Charity Jones. "I can tell by her tone of voice and just by looking at her."
It's "probably going to be tough," but the twins will be pursuing education at different colleges, Charity Jones said. Faith Jones will go to Tuskegee University, and Charity Jones will go to Clark Atlanta University.
The bond between twins extends beyond looks and beyond genetics to the metaphysical.
Fraternal twins Aaron Gilmore and Shaina Gilmore know what each other is thinking and finish each other's thoughts.
At times, the twins catch themselves saying the same things, Aaron Gilmore says.
Twins Jamilah Gilliam and Jasmine Gilliam have similar abilities and can communicate without saying a word.
Bryan Hooper and Brandon Hooper share more than the same birthday and same genes. The two participate in many of the same activities and hobbies and being twins often share the same illnesses, they say.
Similar interests and activities are keeping twins Len Brown and Les Brown, 18, together beyond high school graduation.
The two will be entering the U.S. Air Force together.
Other twins in Mt. Zion's Class of 2005 are Tavares Bennett and Dakotah Bennett and Melissa Varner and Alaina Varner.
The Mt. Zion High School graduation will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Tara Stadium, 1055 Battle Creek Road, Jonesboro. If there is inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Lovejoy High School gymnasium, 1587 McDonough Road.