Double take: Two sets of twins with similar first names graduate on same weekend in Hays

Randy Gonzales
Hays Daily News
Twins Cooper and Camry Young and Kamryn and Kooper Hudsonpillar all grew up in Hays and were set to graduate from Hays High School and Thomas More Prep-Marian this weekend.
Kamryn Hudspopillar and Camry Young played on the same soccer team as youngsters.
Kooper Hudsonpillar, far left, and Cooper Young, far right, enjoyed success together as youth soccer players.

Their names sound almost identical, and their weekend was nearly identical, too.

Two sets of twins with similar first names were set to graduate from high school this weekend in Hays. Kooper and Kamryn Hudsonpillar from Thomas More Prep-Marian are the children of Jason and Corrina Hudsonpillar. Cooper and Camry Young from Hays High School are the children of Bryce and Carol Young.

The Hudsonpillar twins were part of the class of 2021 which held commencement ceremonies on Saturday inside Al Billinger Fieldhouse on the TMP campus. The Young twins were part of the graduation class at HHS, with ceremonies at Fort Hays State University’s Gross Memorial Coliseum set for Sunday afternoon.

The two sets of twins both grew up in Hays and have known each other since they were young. Camry Young said they even played together on Hays Recreation Commission sports teams. Carol Young also taught religion classes that included both sets of twins when they were in elementary school.

Carol Young knows all about twins. The youngest of 15 children, she has two sets of twins as siblings. She knew she was having a boy and girl before her twins were born, and she had names picked out. She liked Camry because she thought it complemented Cooper well.

“At that time, you didn’t hear a lot of Camrys and Coopers,” Carol Young said. “That year must have been the year, because there was a ton of Camrys.”

Going through old photos for graduation, Carol ran across a picture that made her laugh.

“You find pictures when they were playing on different sports teams,” she said. “Kooper and Cooper would be on teams together. There was a year in soccer where it was Camry and Kamryn, and Kamryn Schoenberger was on there, too. I have a picture of the three of them standing and their backs read Kamryn, Camry and Kamryn. It was kind of funny, they would end up on the same teams together. It was fun.”

Unlike the Youngs, Corrina Hudsonpillar did not know the sex of her twins before they were born.

“Around that time, I think Charlie’s Angels came out, and Cameron Diaz was in (that movie),” Hudsonpillar said. “It was like, ‘Cameron, that’s a cool name for a girl.’ Just a different spelling. I thought the ‘y’ made it a bit more feminine.”

The Hudsonpillars’ daughter said she would at times have to remind people of her name when they got it wrong over the years. “I would say, ‘It’s Kamryn,’ ” she said.

Kooper’s name came compliments of the Kansas State football team. The Wildcats’ star safety at the time was Jarrod Cooper.

“Every time he would make a play, the crowd yelled, ‘Cooooop,’ ” Carol Hudsonpillar said.

Kamryn was born a minute earlier than Kooper, who was quick to add, “people think I’m older because I’m taller.”

Camry Young was born two minutes earlier than Cooper, and their mom said the twins are typical siblings, but are always there for each other. Carol said she took some advice when they entered middle school.

“When they went to junior high, they were more independent,” Carol Young said. “A friend of mine told me to have them be in the same classes but at different hours, so they wouldn’t have to be in the same class all the time.”

Now, this weekend is one of those big milestone moments for the families. Both the Hudsonpillars and Youngs are grateful their children were able to have a school year that was uninterrupted like last year, when COVID-19 shut down in-person learning and postponed graduation until the summer.

“This year has been amazing,” Carol Young said. “The teachers and administrators have been amazing, keeping them in school.”

Cooper was looking forward to donning his cap and gown.

“It’s going to be nice to see all of my fellow classmates,” he said.

On Friday, the eve of her twins graduating, Corrina Hudsonpillar reflected on the lessons learned due to the pandemic.

“I had no idea what to expect,” for the school year, she said. “This past year pretty much proved that you never know what tomorrow’s going to bring.”

As they were looking ahead to the weekend, the Hudsonpillar and Young twins knew exactly what their tomorrows would bring: graduation.

Both sets of twins have decided to continue their education in their hometown — success no matter how you spell it.

The Youngs both plan to attend Fort Hays State in the fall, as does Kamryn Hudsonpillar,  and Kooper Hudsonpillar will attend North Central Kansas Technical College.

“It’s been fun to watch them grow up and be their own people,” Corrina Hudsonpillar said, “and showcase their talents.”