The Gardners sought different college routes—like their personalities, but they ended up together again.
One considers everything a joke, while the other takes everything serious. This is just one difference that made identical twins Shanika and Ronika Gardner the biggest opposites on the Lady Bulldogs basketball team.
Their seven-minute birth separation created a chasm that stretches wider than brothers who may be years apart. Ronika, the youngest, looks to Shanika as a bigger sister. Shanika usually keeps her in line and motivates her during the hard times.
They both recently signed to attend Trinity College of Florida for next season, but even that outcome was unexpected because they wanted to try life a part from each other.
“We are twins, but we like to have our space sometimes,” Shanika said, “so we thought it would be OK to go to different colleges.”
“Although I didn’t plan on attending the same college, I will enjoy it,” Ronika added. “Not everyone can go to school with one of their siblings. Going somewhere you don't know a lot of people can be intimidating, but having your sister there is nice.”
They stopped dressing alike in their freshman year, which was also when their personalities split. As they became two totally different people, those close to them couldn’t understand their behavior, which they said was their most difficult time.
“We both have had different mindsets on things, and have to explain that to the most important people was kind of tough,” Ronika said. “They didn't really understand why we would want to do stuff separately, that we could be twins but have different personalities.”
“My mother expected us to do the same things and hang around the same people,” Shanika added. “So, when we asked her to go hang out with friends, she would allow it, but when we told her that it was with two different groups, she wasn't OK with it at first. But, she got over it and understood why.”
Both leave the Lady Bulldogs as four-year players and varsity letter winners, but Shanika is going on to major in Elementary Education, while Ronika Business Administration.
“We will show people how awesome twins we are with a little bit of different personalities,” Shanika said.
Because of their diversity, the twins do plan to get matching tattoos to forge a forever similarity between themselves—other than their faces.
Bevacqua, More than a coach: FPC girls basketball coach Javier Bevacqua has sent each of his five seniors to college in the last two seasons.
DID YOU KNOW? Shanika and Ronika Gardner are actually FPC’s SECOND set of twins to sign to the same college. Track stars Alyce and Alycia Williams both signed to George Mason University in 2002, before transferring to Florida State University.