COLUMBUS — Today’s graduation ceremony at Lakeview High will mark the end of a long journey together for many students at the close-knit school.
The event is always an emotional time for seniors as they say farewell to friends and faculty members who have helped shape their lives over the past four-plus years.
For two sets of twins, the commencement will be a particularly special time.
Logan and Karston Runge and Abbey and Amanda Humlicek have gone to school together since they were kindergartners at Shell Creek Elementary.
Like many members of the senior class, they grew up together, developing a bond along the way.
“You get to know them pretty well,” Amanda Humlicek said of her classmates.
“Sometimes too well,” Karston Runge added.
As twins, that relationship is even stronger.
“We’re pretty close some days, but other days ...,” Karston said, trailing off before getting into specifics about the ups and downs any brother has with his sister.
At first, most people don’t even realize they’re twins, Logan said, adding that it’s frequently assumed she’s a younger sister to her 18-year-old brother.
But at Lakeview, everyone knows better.
That’s also where the perks of having a sibling in the same grade, and often the same classes and activities, are most beneficial. Coursework gets a little easier when you have an at-home studying partner.
“From my standpoint it’s really nice, for her it’s not,” Karston said, referencing the tutoring he receives from Logan while downplaying his role as the math expert.
Amanda and Abbey Humlicek — or the “smart twins,” according to Logan Runge — took part in numerous activities together throughout high school, including National Honor Society, student council, FBLA, FFA, 4-H and student ambassadors.
Academics weren’t an issue for the twins, but their bond was a cause for concern with one overly cautious test moderator.
“Some people think that we have twin telepathy,” Amanda Humlicek said. “We went in to take the ACT and we had to sit on opposite sides of the room because she thought we were going to cheat.”
Amanda — the shy one — does use her outgoing twin sister to get an inside look at certain social circles.
“I hear most of my information from her ... I just stay on the outside and listen,” she said.
The Runges, who participated together in activities such as FFA and 4-H, were also both three-sport athletes at Lakeview, as were the Humlicek twins.
Karston, who wrestled and played football and soccer, said there was a little bit of a competitive relationship between him and his sister, a member of the softball, basketball and soccer teams.
“If they’re having more success than you, it makes you want to practice harder,” he said.
In the end, though, the relationship is always a supportive one.
“You know they’re there for you if you need them,” said Logan Runge, who is committed to the softball program at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, where she will study to become a paramedic.
The Runge twins thought about attending Hastings College together, where Karston considered wrestling and playing football, before changing their plans.
“You kind of need to grow apart a little bit,” said Karston, who will attend Central Community College-Columbus to study diversified agriculture while remaining on the family farm.
Abbey and Amanda Humlicek also talked about attending the same college and living together, but ended up scrapping that idea.
“We need our own experiences,” said Abbey, who will play volleyball at Southeast Community College in Beatrice and major in criminal justice while her sister studies nursing at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Abbey is ready for the next chapter in her life. But, “I’m going to miss Amanda,” she admitted.
Karston also knows life will be different without his twin sister around.
“It will be interesting to see what it’s like to not have a twin for a little while,” he said, avoiding an emotional answer with his sister sitting nearby.
“I’m going to miss you and you’re going to miss me — get over it,” Logan responded.
Plus, she added, he’ll be forced to wash his own clothes without a twin sister around to do his laundry.
“I didn’t think about that one,” Karston said, letting a little bit of reality set in.