Kirkwood High School student newspaper

Senior Profile: James and Stephanie Strevey

April 14, 2017

Adaline Bray

He’s a gymnast, she’s a dancer. He wants to join the Navy, she wants to be an English professor. He’s a boy, she’s a girl. James and Stephanie Strevey are opposites, but they are twins.

“When we were little, [James and I] were hard to tell apart,” Stephanie said. “We both had all the same interests because all we did with our time was gymnastics and school.”

James and Stephanie were more similar as kids than they are now, said Stephanie. In middle school, the twins were in the same friend group but in high school James began branching out more and their interests differed.

“[Now] there aren’t a lot of similarities,” Stephanie said. “[One thing] we both have is the same sense of humor, we just express it differently.”

James and Stephanie started gymnastics as toddlers because they had developmental issues with their feet and their doctor recommended gymnastics to help realign their bones. Stephanie developed ankle problems freshman year, and by sophomore year her ankle completely snapped, and she had to have reconstructive surgery. She was forced to quit gymnastics, but James continues with it today.

“There’s nothing like [gymnastics],” James said, who competes for St. Louis Gym Center. “It’s challenging. There’s a lot of motivation and competition, and all my friends are at the gym. At a meet before your routine you [feel] this rush of excitement and you feel like you have to do your best for yourself and your team and that [rush] pushes you to do your best.”

Stephanie said she was upset about quitting gymnastics at first, but during physical therapy she got into dance. It helped take her mind off that she had to end her 13-year gymnastics career.

“I like the music and I wouldn’t dance to anything I didn’t like to listen to,” Stephanie said. “Also, it’s hard work. But you almost don’t realize that you’re getting a workout until you’re done [because] you’ve had such a good time.”

Stephanie plans to double major in creative writing and astrophysics and is attending Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania. James is going to continue his gymnastics career competing on the Division I level at the University of Illinois at Chicago next year and apply for the Naval Academy again since he was not accepted this year. Elizabeth Strevey, the twins’ mom, said the best thing about raising twins is seeing two people with the same genes grow up to be so different and unique.

“I am proud of Stephanie because she is the person she wants to be,” Elizabeth said. “She’s always herself and always focused on what she has to learn and how much more she can learn. And I’m proud of James because he has the kind of perseverance that allowed him to come this far in gymnastics and to get into a school to do NCAA gymnastics.”

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