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Homecoming court seeing double

By ROBERT KING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002

SPRING HILL -- Each year, Springstead High School's sophomore class gets to put two boys and two girls on the homecoming court.

This year, the two boys chosen come from the same family. In fact, you might even say the boys are closer than family.

That's because Justin and John DeMutiis -- sophomore representatives to the royal court -- are twins. And the two brothers couldn't be happier to be on the court together.

"I think it's pretty awesome," said Justin. "I couldn't ask for anything more. I wanted John and I to win. That was kind of a goal. Now that's happened."

John, who was chosen last year as the freshman class' lone representative, was thrilled to be paired up with his brother this year.

"I thought it was really awesome," John said. "I'm glad that they like us and felt like voting for us."

This week promises to be action packed for the twins DeMutiis. On Monday night, they and other Springstead students will take part in the traditional homecoming bonfire.

On Thursday, the twins and other members of the court will be introduced at the Claw, a night of homecoming skits and related fun. And then there is Friday night's homecoming football game.

Somewhere in the middle of the fun, the DeMutiis boys need to find time to celebrate their 16th birthdays -- which fall on Thursday. For the record, Justin was born first; John came along two or three minutes later.

At Springstead, only seniors can be elected homecoming king and queen.

Students are voted to the homecoming court by their peers. But they must also survive a review by the faculty to ensure they meet certain qualifications -- including passing grades, a good discipline record and good attendance.

The DeMutiis twins made the cut. John takes honors courses and plays soccer. Justin is in Springstead's Advanced Placement Academy, which offers college-prep classes. He plays both soccer and football.

As unusual as it may seem, having twins on the homecoming court is not unprecedented at Springstead. The LaRocca twins, another set of boys, did it a few years ago.

Though brotherhood sometimes is reputed to be a competitive, bare-fisted institution, the DeMutiis twins say they get along very well. Much better, in fact, since their older sister moved out and each brother got a room of his own.

The thing that helped them grow closest, says Justin, was taking many of the same classes together as freshmen, and running in the same crowd. As sophomores, they don't share as many of the same classes, but their bond still holds.

"We hang out with the same people and play on the same soccer team," said John.

And as was evident when they went last week to pick out their tuxedos, being members of the homecoming court has given the DeMutiis twins one more thing to share.

"It's kind of nice. They can experience a nice part of growing up together," said Paul Rizzo, an English teacher who is Springstead's faculty adviser this year for homecoming. "I've never seen that happen before."

-- Robert King covers Spring Hill and can be reached at 848-1432. Send e-mail to rking@sptimes.com.

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