WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Among the many high school seniors in the Wichita, Kansas, area who were cheated out of the end of their school year by the coronavirus pandemic are six well-known siblings from Norwich.
The Headrick sextuplets — Grant, Melissa, Ethan, Danielle, Sean and Jaycie, who together make up 22% of Norwich High School’s senior class — would have graduated May 9.
Instead, the six siblings that captivated Kansas and the nation when they were born to Sondra and Eldon Headrick on April 6, 2002, are facing their last few months under the same roof, where the three boys share one room and the three girls share another.
Like many seniors, they didn’t get to experience all of those end-of-school rituals. But their parents did get the chance to make one final bulk purchase: six sets of graduation caps and gowns — white for the girls, red for the boys — that they donned for photos and will likely wear at a formal graduation ceremony planned for sometime this summer.
Actually, there’s one more bulk purchase left.
“We still need cars for them,” Sondra said with a laugh.
But each of the siblings, together nonstop since birth, is preparing to head out into the world as an individual.
Easy-going Ethan, who co-led Norwich High’s engineering club, is headed to Wichita State University to study technical networking. Sean, the serious, self-described “nerd,” will go to Cowley College to study information assurance.
Both Melissa, the social butterfly, and Danielle, artsy and quiet, are going to Hutchinson Community College to study graphic design and animation, respectively. Jaycie, the class salutatorian, will study elementary education at Pratt Community College.
And Grant — the boundary-pusher and the most outspoken of the siblings — plans to go to college but has decided to keep working at White’s Foodliner in Kingman while he decides exactly what he wants to do.
Meanwhile, mom and dad are preparing to move quickly from a house filled with eight people to one that will likely be pretty quiet, with only Ethan planning to live at home while he attends college.
What will they do with all that time, peace and quiet?
They can’t really imagine it, the Headrick parents said, admitting they probably won’t have much extra time. Sondra and Eldon work two jobs each and will keep doing so. They spent $30,000 for braces for six, and now they’re paying for college.
But the kids, who 18 years ago used to run her ragged with diaper changes and feedings and screaming, are easy now, for the most part, said Sondra, adding that she’ll miss having them around.
“I do like this age right now because we can have conversations, and it’s a fun age for them,” she said. “But I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings for them.”
The siblings said they’re ready to get out and start their own lives — and maybe, someday, their own families.
Do any of them wish for big families? All quickly shook their heads no, and Grant spoke for the group:
“I already have a big family.”