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The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

Tyrone’s ‘Twinniest’ Twins

TAHS Special Education teachers Shannon Davis and Sarah Latchford have a lot more in common than meets the eye
Photo courtesy of Sarah Latchford
Tyrone’s teaching twins. In case you are wondering, on the left is Sarah Latchford and on the right is Shannon Davis.

By definition all twins share a lot in common, but good luck finding twins more alike than Shannon (Obermeier) Davis and Sarah (Obermeier) Latchford of Tyrone.

Their similarities go well beyond their identical looks, extending to their choice of careers, place of employment, and even where they live.

Both are special education teachers at Tyrone Area High School, both are married Tyrone Class of 2000 graduates, and both built houses just a stone’s throw from each other in Tyrone.

[Having a twin] means you have a best friend for life. My sister is always there for me. She is my go-to person. She knows and understands me and always has my back

— Sarah Latchford

Growing up, the Obermeiers attended Catholic grade school in Altoona, where the school uniform policy made it nearly impossible to tell them apart.

Like many identical twins, they would sometimes switch places in school.

“In second grade we switched shoes and sweaters. Since we wore uniforms and we were already dressed alike. I believe it was April Fools Day. Of course, the nuns were our teachers so they didn’t think it was very funny when they realized that we switched clothes and desks,” Shannon said.

At Altoona High School, they took mostly the same classes and participated in the same extracurricular activities, including basketball, color guard, and tennis (where, you guessed it, they were doubles partners).

They originally planned to go to different colleges, but both decided that Penn State Altoona was the best fit for them.

At Penn State, not only were they roommates, but they also played on the Penn State Altoona women’s tennis team together. Again, as doubles partners.

The Obermeiers started college with different majors, but that didn’t last long either. Sarah entered as a freshman studying accounting and Shannon was undecided.

That changed when they took a family human resource class together and both got jobs working with underprivileged kids at a local elementary school.

It was at that job that they fell in love with helping special needs students, and soon Shannon and Sarah both changed their majors to special education.

Even the twins’ employment history after college has been a mirror of each other.

When they graduated from Penn State, they both submitted job applications to numerous school districts and childcare facilities but ended up being hired together at The Learning Express, a preschool run by the Altoona Area School District.

One year later Sarah moved to a full-time teaching position at an elementary school in the Altoona School District, and Shannon remained a teacher at the preschool.

Even though they were at different schools, the twins were working in the same career field at the same school district.

Seven years later, Sarah took a new positon at Tyrone Area High School, and it wasn’t long before the twins were reunited again at Tyrone.

“Sarah got hired at Tyrone and absolutely loved the district. She wanted Tyrone to be the district her kids grew up in. She was at the middle school, and I got hired at the high school,” Shannon said.

Today they work just one floor apart at Tyrone Area High School.

It takes less than a minute to walk from one of the twins’ classrooms to the other. The biggest difference between them may be the set of stairs between their first and second-floor classrooms.

“It was kind of crazy how our jobs kept leading us back together, ” Sarah said.

Because they don’t share the same students, there have been some confusing moments when the two are seen outside of their classrooms.

“Not too long ago a student saw Shannon in the hall and asked her why she wrote him up. Shannon had no idea who the student was, and when she told him it wasn’t her, the student was really confused,” said Sarah.

Shannon’s and Sarah’s husbands even have something in common. They are high school friends and graduated from Tyrone together in 2000.

Shannon’s husband is Rusty Davis, who also works at Tyrone Area High School in the tech department, and Sarah is married to Eric Latchford, who works as a physical therapy assistant in Philipsburg.

“[Rusty and Eric] were friends. We actually went to a party at Rusty’s house, not knowing Rusty at the time, because I heard Eric was going to it. That’s how we got to know Rusty,” said Sarah.

While they were dating, they would sometimes trick their boyfriends on the phone.

“We had phone lines back then, so we would answer and pretend we were the other one. We would see how long they would talk to us until they realized,” Sarah said.

Rusty said he could not always tell the sisters apart on the phone.

“They were able to fool me pretty often on the telephone when we were younger. If they were together and I called for Shannon, every now and then, they would still try to trick me. If it was right at the beginning of the call, they sometimes succeed… only for a short time, though,” Rusty said.

The twins have even been part of a scientific study by the University of Chicago. The study used twins to determine how anger tendencies run in families and if there are genetic links.

Sarah got hired at Tyrone and absolutely loved the district. She wanted Tyrone to be the district her kids grew up in. She was at the middle school, and I got hired at the high school

— Shannon Davis

“It was pretty cool. They flew us out to Chicago and put us in a hotel. We got to tour the city and go sightseeing. They even paid us to do the study,” Sarah said.

The study also confirmed something that they had suspected but did not know for sure. “We never knew if we were identical or fraternal twins and this study confirmed that we are identical,” said Sarah.

The chance of being identical twins is relatively rare, just three or four of every 1,000 births are identical twins.

When asked about the often debated subject of “twin telepathy,” Davis and Latchford are adamant believers.

“One hundred percent yes,” Shannon said, “My sister has always had pain when I had surgeries and vice versa. It’s a real thing.”

With the advantages of having a twin, there are naturally a few difficulties.

“When you are a twin, you do feel like you’re always being compared. Who is smarter? Who is the better athlete? Who is prettier? It takes a while to find out who you really are,” Sarah said.

But today the twins are both married with growing families and live just a short distance from each other. “All I have to do is walk up the hill to get to Shannon’s house,” said Sarah.

Shannon and Rusty have four children, and Sarah and Eric have three.

According to Shannon, the longest the twins have gone without seeing each other is one week, while one was on vacation without the other.

They still rely on each other all the time.

“[Having a twin] means you have a best friend for life. My sister is always there for me. She is my go-to person. She knows and understands me and always has my back,” Sarah said.

And now Shannon even has a set of twins of her own, Addison and Brenson, who are in seventh grade at Tyrone. It still remains to be seen if Sarah will have twins of her own someday.

Regardless, the Obermeier twins are living out their ‘twin’spiring adult lives, continuing their close-knit bond from childhood through the addition of their families and careers.

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About the Contributor
Grace Naylor
Grace Naylor, Staff Writer
Grace is a sophomore at Tyrone Area High School. This is Grace’s first year in Eagle Eye as a staff member. Grace plays softball and basketball. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family. Grace likes writing about school sports and other fun activities within the school. Grace is a member of All Eagles, a club dedicated to student inclusion. She also is in the National Honor Society. Grace is a part of the Eagle Eye Yearbook. Her favorite subject in school is Math. When Grace gets out of high school, she wants to attend a 4-year college to be a teacher for Elementary Special Education students. Grace is excited to write stories!

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    Peggy FontanaNov 20, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    Wonderful article. Thank you!