The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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May 27, 2013

Triplets following different paths in higher education

An Eye Toward the Future

GLEN DANIEL — The Daniel triplets were always easy to spot at Liberty High School: They excelled academically and ran track.

Plus, there were three of “them.”

Elizabeth “Beth,” Kaitlyn “Kaity” and Shelby, 18, aren’t identical — at least, not all of them — but classmates and teachers still had to take a second look to tell who was who.

“It took me awhile to be able to tell them apart, like everybody else,” said Liberty High Principal Sam Cangemi.  

The triplets’ mother, Robin Daniel, 46, of Saxon, set the record straight.

“Two are identical, and then Kaity’s just a little different,” she said. “Her hair’s darker, and she’s got a little dimple in her chin.”

As the triplets graduate from Liberty and prepare to begin their lives and studies chasing their individual goals, they will have several scholarships they earned in high school, including the Promise Scholarship and a scholarship from Raleigh General Hospital for their volunteer service.

Their paths are forking, though. Kaity got the Little General Scholarship and two from Concord University: the Bonners Scholarship and Rhododendron Girls’ State.

Shelby and Beth each earned the Shenandoah Scholarship from West Virginia University.

“(Going to different schools) will be hard at first, but I’ll visit them, so it won’t be too bad,” said Kaity.

“Mom says (it will be hard to be away from Kaity), but we really don’t think it will be that bad,” agreed Shelby. “When we go to camp, and we’re not with each other, we’re fine.”

“I’ll probably miss her,” said Beth.

Kaity said her high school teachers inspired her career choice.

“The teachers took their time with me, and pretty much every other student, and they actually cared about what you were learning,” she said. “The way they encouraged me to learn, and I love to learn, and they helped me embrace that. They really just inspired me to be a teacher.”

She said she hopes to teach high school math or history.

Beth plans a career in occupational therapy.

“I had Intro to Health last year, and we talked about what it takes to live a normal life and to do normal things,” she said. “I think it would be nice to help people live as normal a life as they can, because it would have to be hard to depend on somebody.”

Like many incoming college freshmen, Shelby’s still undecided on her career path, trying to choose between occupational therapy and pediatric nursing.

“I want to help people a lot, and I like to be with little kids,” she said. “I’m between those two.”

When they look back over their high school years, the girls remember their shared experiences in unique ways.

While Kaity’s best memories are of teachers, Shelby and Beth recall times with friends as being the most outstanding.

“We always go flashlight tag,” said Shelby. “They’re the funnest, just little get-togethers when we’re all together.”

“I liked football games a lot,” said Beth. “They were a lot of fun.”

As they prepared for graduation Saturday, each Daniel triplet offered advice to the eighth-graders who begin their high school careers in August.

“Definitely make as many memories as you can,” Shelby said. “Before you know it, it’s senior year, and you wish you had more time.”

“It goes by too fast,” said Beth. “You want to do different things.”

“Cherish the time you have, because it goes by really fast,” Kaity agreed. “And care about your grades, because they do matter.”

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