(This story was first published in the June 5, 2014 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
By Katy Savage, Standard Staff
Ralph Sheppard’s kids, Kathleen, Amelia and Alex Sheppard, graduating seniors at Woodstock Union High School, share the same sense of humor, are athletic, play tennis and they’re all good students.
Since they were little, people have asked Ralph if his triplets have different personalities.
“Of course they do,” he tells them.
They have gone through 18 years of school together, but it’s not weird, they said, because they don’t know any different.
“It’s kind of cool having two of my best friends…at school and having people to talk to at school has been nice,” Amelia said.
The siblings are rarely in the same class and they don’t see each other much during the school day. When they do, “It’s a little family reunion,” Alex said.
But sometimes working together is inevitable in a small school.
In their sophomore year, they represented three of the four class officers. Amelia was class president, Kathleen was vice president and Alex was treasurer.
“We were all trying to do our own thing and try to help the class and not try to act like siblings,” Kathleen said. “Funny things like that happen.”
The trio shares a similar love for the outdoors and athletics, but they also have differences.
“They’re really messy and I’m neat,” Kathleen said.
Alex veered from the family norm of skiing and started snowboarding when he was 8.
He created the snowboard team at Woodstock his sophomore year.
“I discovered that there was interhigh school snowboard competitions and I thought it would be a good idea to bring it to Woodstock,” he said. “It turned out to be a really great opportunity for a lot of people who usually don’t do sports. It really allowed them to compete, which a lot of people aren’t able to do on a daily basis.”
Alex won the state championship his junior year and this past year, the team was second overall in the state in slopestyle, half-pipe and giant slalom.
There are about 20 people on the team now who compete on mountains around the entire state.
He “focused on creating a team and making it a reputable sport,” he said. “I think that as the years go on it will become even more reputable.”
Alex also makes snowboard videos and does comedy stories — but not with his siblings. Amelia said she wanted to be in one of his videos, but Alex wouldn’t let her.
|Triplets Alex (left), Amelia (center) and Kathleen Sheppard are off to college after blazing their own paths at Woodstock Union High School.
Katy Savage Photo
“I refused,” he said, jokingly. “I don’t want to spend any more time with them than I have to.”
Amelia was named the class salutatorian. She created the Glee Club, an a cappella group comprised of 10-15 people. She’s also involved in drama and won several academic awards for math and received an English book award.
Kathleen, who loves to travel, studied abroad in France for a semester her junior year and lived with a host family for four months.
“I’m pretty much fluent in French,” she said. “Overall it made me more independent as a person.”
She lives with a friend in Connecticut in the summers so she can teach sailing.
The triplets say they are close friends, but they don’t always like to admit it. Their most noticeable similarity is their competitiveness in what they do.
They’ll graduate from WUHS in a couple weeks and go their separate ways — Amelia is going to Harvey Mudd College in California to study computer science, Alex is going to Emerson College in Boston to study film and Kathleen is going to Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts to study international business.
“They all have a very good idea of what they want to do,” Ralph said.