When you are a parent to four boys, all who have applied to college, then the weight of an acceptance or rejection letter is a serious burden.
The four Wade boys, Nick, Zach, Aaron and Nigel then seniors at Lakota East High School in Butler County, Ohio were at track practice one late afternoon when the news popped in. Nick was the first to find out he’d been accepted into an Ivy League school.
The four brothers who’ve been dubbed the Fantastic Four have found themselves in the limelight, both in the U.S and internationally. The four brothers, referred to as the Wades were accepted into Harvard, Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, Cornell and Princeton among other institutions.
Their mother, Kim Wade was quoted by CNN as saying, “It’s a wow factor. They weren’t expecting it, but we always tell them shoot for the stars.”
18 years ago, Darrin Wade and his wife were not expecting quadruplets but twins only for them to be pleasantly surprised with quadruplets, all boys.
The principal of their school Suzanna Davis said, “They have thrived academically, but they have found their own interests.” A statement that’s true considering how the brothers have always been lumped together but each finding what distinguishes him from the other.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 10, 2017
In the essays they wrote in the application to college, they each talked about how their individuality was submerged due to the fact that they were quadruplets. This forced each one of them to discover themselves and what made each different from the others.
Aaron’s story: Striving for individuality
In his essay Aaron wrote, “Being a quadruplet had its perks. It gave me an instant identity as a “Wade Brother.” It also made me something of an expert at sharing. We share birthdays. We share bedrooms. We share a 2006 Toyota Camry. More importantly, Nick, Nigel, Zach and I share a struggle to establish ourselves as individuals. Growing up, I felt as if I were a detail that people overlooked in favour of some bigger picture. To a few, I was Aaron Wade. To most, I was “one of the Quads.”
Having discovered an old piano he instantly took to music. He further added, “Music taught me that my brothers and I don’t share everything.”
He concluded his essay by saying, “‘Quadruplet’ will always comprise a part of my identity. Although it was once a barrier to individuality, it is now one of the many things that makes me unique: a badge of honour I don as Aaron Wade.”
Nick: Quest towards discovering self identity
In his essay Nick wrote, “When people learn that I am a quadruplet, their eyes widen. Women invariably say, “Your poor mother.” Neighbours, teachers, and friends seldom use my first name. They perpetually refer to me as “one of the Wade boys.” Or they say, “Wait, which one are you?” People think of me less as individual and more like one in a set of matching luggage. Because the world did not see my individual identity, I grew up thinking I didn’t have one. It would take a long time to form a clear sense of self, to be something other than a Quad.”
His quest to discover his identity and what made him different from his brothers led him to join clubs in his high school, but only one club fitted, the Cultural Club. This led him to have an interest in Arabic, a decision that came due to the headlines the Middle East made. He applied for a State Department scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco.
He further wrote, “When I was accepted, I was ecstatic. For the first time in my life, I would embark on a journey completely independent of my brothers. I would be going to a place where no one knew about my multiple birth status. In Morocco, I wouldn’t be “one of the Wade boys.” I would be free to establish who I was, and who I could be.”
Embarking on that trip led him to a realization, “I could get more joy out of being a Quad now that I was better at being Nick.”
Nigel’s story: Solace in science
Nigel took an interest in anatomy, and neuroscience, but prior to that he too had to fight to get his identity. He wrote in his essay, “I suppose to some extent our family is part of all of our identities. But it is different when you’re a quadruplet; your family doesn’t just become part of your identity. It destroys it.”
He further wrote, “I tried to break away from my brothers. But for a quadruplet, there were logistical limitations. My parents could not drive me to every single activity I wanted to try or shell out money for every sport I was interested in because there were three other boys they had to worry about. My dad put me in football, but I never truly loved it. I tried drawing and music, but that was more of my brother’s niche. Even track, one of the few things that brought me solace, left me feeling as if something was missing.”
That changed when his dad brought home a book, 3ft tall and 2ft wide with the title Human Anatomy. Nigel wrote, “From the second I cracked open its spine I fell in love. Before me were gigantic images of the nervous system, microscopic bacteria blown up to the size of my hand, a network of veins and arteries beautifully depicted, and the wonders of the human body explained as if they were ordinary occurrences rather than miracles. I was instantly hooked.”
This led him to want to see the practical side of anatomy thereby getting to do an internship at the West Chester hospital. While there he shadowed medical professionals for a couple of weeks. Within that period something happened, “One day stood out. Allowed to enter the operating room, I saw a patient who had spontaneous pneumothorax and needed to have the hole sealed. The surgeon on duty entered and briefly looked at the patient. I waited for the background music to come on as it typically does for operations but the room remained silent. The lights dimmed and she made her first cut. From that moment on, she was engrossed; she had no hesitation, no doubts, only focus. There was a look of peace on her face that I had never before witnessed. And then it clicked. I knew how I was different than my brothers.
It still hurts being compared to my brothers. And it might continue until people call me Dr. Wade, but in the meantime I know with 100% certainty that I am on the right path and will be more than just one of four.”
Zach the discus champ
Zachary Wade first attempted separating himself from his brothers when he got into high school. He fell in love with discus. In his essay he wrote, “Not only did I love discus but also I was actually a decent thrower. My ability led me into a world separate from the one in which my name was always followed by three others. To the other throwers, I was not part of a group. I was the only Wade they knew. When they talked to me they used my name. They called me Zach.”
Zach went on to win a lot of prizes ranging from medals to trophies and as well as being named the Lakota East Field Athlete of the Year. However for Zachary, “my favourite prize was the one that I won at the first meet. A shirt to call my own.”
Three of the brothers are considering Yale while Aaron is considering Stanford. Their achievement is highlighted by the fact that few students get into Yale and Harvard.
The Washington Post quoted Aaron saying, “We’re still in shock, honestly. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”
Nigel said, “I just felt blessed at that moment. It was an unreal feeling, I guess.”
“Honestly, to have one child from a family be accepted to a school like this is amazing,” Zach said. “But for all four to be accepted — I just don’t, I don’t know how it happened.”
Social media has been filled with reactions.
https://t.co/uiJxLu9Yvr Absolute great success for these young black men. All 4 brothers get into the ivy league colleges.
— Coldest Winter (@coldest_winter5) April 10, 2017
— Ron Walker (@1965Nupe) April 10, 2017
I think we can all agree that the Wade brothers are like our collective children. We are all so proud of them for their accomplishments.
— Jake Curran (@jakec_cm) April 9, 2017