Twins from Richmond Area Fare Well at VMI
Twins (from left) Matthew Reardon, Noyan Erermis, Josh Wells, Jonathan Reardon, Jesse Wells, and (seated) Kaan Erermis gather in the office of Capt. Ned Riester, head of the civil engineering department, during exam week. -- VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
LEXINGTON, Va., May 22, 2014 -- Three sets of twins, all from the Richmond area, were among the 317 men and women who received diplomas from Virginia Military Institute on Friday, May 16.
All six majored in either civil or mechanical engineering. Likewise, all six graduated from high schools in the Richmond area - and they all knew each other before they came to VMI.
Noyan Erermis and Kaan Erermis, sons of Fikret Payaslioglu of Derbyshire Road, Richmond, graduated from Richmond’s Douglas Freeman High School. Noyan Erermis, a runner, praised his high school coach, Brian Reutinger, for instilling in him a “never give up” work ethic that also served him well at VMI.
“You really wanted to do well for him,” said Erermis of Reutinger. “He was a really quiet guy, but at the same time he just knew you had it in you and you thought he believed in you so you didn’t want to let him down. … Coming into VMI, every time times got hard, I was thinking, do not give up, you’ve made it through worse.”
After VMI, Noyan Erermis embarked on a cross-country bicycle adventure, riding from Yorktown, Va., to Astoria, Ore., a journey of 4,200 miles.
His twin, Kaan Erermis, also praised the mental and physical discipline of running at Douglas Freeman. “The biggest thing I got out of it was the long distance running – it just made me mentally strong: that last lap of the race and every muscle in your body is telling you to stop – it carries over into anything that is mentally difficult in life,” he said.
Drawn to the outdoors like his brother, Kaan Erermis has taken a job with Papa Bear Adventures, guiding hunters and fly fishermen on trips to remote areas of Alaska.
Jonathan and Matthew Reardon graduated from Benedictine College Preparatory School in Richmond, a military, Catholic, and all-male school. They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Kevin P. Reardon of Rockville.
Both Reardon twins said that Benedictine provided them with a strong academic foundation.
“The education at our school was really good,” said Jonathan Reardon. “I thought it was really high quality. It helped me come here and be successful, and it helped me find the way I wanted to go. … I really looked up to my math and physics teacher.”
While at VMI, Jonathan Reardon earned Institute Honors and maintained a 4.0 grade point average. At graduation, he received the First Jackson-Hope Medal for highest attainment in scholarship, accompanied by the Commander Harry Millard Mason Academic Proficiency Award.
He plans to study aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech this fall.
His twin, Matthew Reardon, also praised Benedictine. “The teachers helped me out a lot because it was small classes as well,” he said. After VMI, Matthew Reardon plans to study structural engineering at the University of Virginia.
Jesse and Joshua Wells, sons of the Rev. and Mrs. Mark T. Wells of Midlothian, graduated from James River High School in Chesterfield County.
Jesse Wells gave high marks to James River for both academics and athletics.
“Our coach [Mark Helberg] was one of the best coaches I’ve ever been coached by, and I’ve played sports since I was four years old,” said Wells. “He pushes you when you need to be pushed.”
Wells continued, “Our math teachers in high school were some of our best teachers – they were the most engaging. That’s why I decided to go into engineering.”
Upon graduating from VMI, Jesse Wells commissioned in the Air Force. He will report to Pensacola, Fla., for training as a navigator.
Joshua Wells, like his brother, has fond memories of James River High School, where he played football and lacrosse, and also wrestled.
“Being a three-sport athlete, we had three different groups of friends,” he said. “Each group in each different sport taught you different things. …Wrestling showed us more that we needed to do something to push ourselves in college.”
After graduation, Joshua Wells returned to his native Midlothian to seek employment as a civil engineer. While at VMI, he completed an undergraduate research project on how to minimize shrinkage when drying concrete.