Seniorgarten: Sisters born 12 years apart share big first days

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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Carson Read begins her senior year today with the first day of classes at Decatur High School.

Counting kindergarten, it’s her 13th “first day.”

But Carson is not the only one in the Read family who is having a momentous “first day of school” this year.

BACK TO SCHOOL – Sisters Carson (left) and Lynnleigh Read are both preparing for the first day of school: one her senior year and one her kindergarten year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Her sister, Lynnleigh, will attend kindergarten this year, and her first “first day” is Aug. 28 at Prairie View Elementary in Rhome.

The two sisters and their parents, Carrie and Shay Read, live in Rhome. Like Lynnleigh, Carson began her first day of kindergarten at Prairie View as well.

Although Carson can’t remember much about that first day, Carrie said her oldest daughter wasn’t too keen on school at first.

“She didn’t have a super smooth first few days of kindergarten, but there was a teacher in her elementary school at the time, who is still a very good friend of mine, who went in and checked on her,” Carrie said.

That friend – who would later be Carson’s fourth grade teacher – is Lana Coffman, who is experiencing her own momentous “first day” today as she begins her tenure as principal at Decatur’s Young Elementary.

Lynnleigh, who also goes by the name Lulu, she said, seems to be quite excited about starting school.

“I’m going to big school!” Lynnleigh said when asked about her first day thoughts.

And what is she looking forward to the most?

“Playing on the playground,” she said.

Lynnleigh has been attending speech therapy at Prairie View, so she is already familiar with the school.

As for the classroom setting, Carrie said that might be more uncharted territory.

“We are hoping she stays focused,” she said. “We’re not sure about her focus level, but we’ll find out.”

Carson, who said she and her sister are “definitely polar opposites in terms of personality,” often finds herself in more of a parental role than that of a sister.

She said it’s more of a personality trait rather than something she goes out of her way to do.

“I’m very much a routine person, so I like things to be in line, so I’ve tried to help Lynnleigh stay in line,” Carson said. “She just kind of goes at her own pace and does what she wants.”

Carrie said Lynnleigh was still a baby when she realized the significance of August of 2017, even if the reality of it didn’t hit until just a few months ago.

“Lynnleigh was probably four or five months old when I had an epiphany that when she’s starting school, (Carson) will be a senior, so we’re having the two most emotional years in the same year,” she said.

Carson said she’s not the kind of person who gets overly emotional. Perhaps that’s because she’s been too busy to think too much about the significance of the milestone.

She recently returned home after a 10-day trip to California and Oregon to study agriculture as a state livestock ambassador, a role she pursued through the 4-H program.

Carson also spent time at a retreat in Indiana where she was elected to the board of directors for a national organization called Team Purebred, which provides educational opportunities for youth who are interested in careers in the swine industry.

She’s also been serving as the Decatur FFA president and Decatur 4-H president and will serve as editor of the school paper this year.

Perhaps she’s not too emotional for the simple reason that she doesn’t see this as a “last first day.”

“I am looking forward to ending this chapter of my life and starting a new one, and I’m excited to see the opportunities that are presented to me after high school is over,” Carson said.

Those post-high school plans include attending either Oklahoma State University or Texas A&M and majoring in animal science with an emphasis in swine production. She said she hopes to one day work for the pork board or be a state swine specialist.

Carrie said she offered her oldest daughter a piece of advice on her senior year: take time to enjoy it.

“One thing I tried to tell her is this year goes by so fast,” she said. “In the blink of an eye, you’ll be standing at graduation. Take time to enjoy the fun stuff and be goofy every once in a while, have school spirit, make memories with your friends, because it ends so quickly.”

With Carson reaching the end of one journey, and Lynnleigh just beginning her own, Carrie said she hopes both her daughters share this special time.

“For both girls, we want them to have a really good year,” she said. “We want them to have fun, to learn. We don’t want them to have a lot of stress. Make the best of it. Make a lot of memories. And hopefully they can do that together.”

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