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Identical Quadruplets on Distinct Career Paths, Find their Own Way at the College of Southern Maryland

December 27, 2023

“Since the girls had diverse interests, it was important that we find a school that was able to support all their paths.”

CSM students Adelle, Bonnie, Chloe and Daphne Breedlove may be one in 600 million as identical quadruplets, but at the College of Southern Maryland -- they are each, individually one of a kind. 

The faculty and staff at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) know well that each student who attends CSM is rare and unique unto themselves. But when the Breedlove identical quadruplets arrived on campus at the beginning of the fall 2023 semester, rare took on a whole new meaning.

“We have been told several different statistics for the odds of their birth, but the most common statistic is one in 600 million,” shared Shelley Breedlove, mother to CSM’s newest Hawks – Adelle, Bonnie, Chloe and Daphne. “They were 45th set of naturally conceived identical quadruplets ever born and the first set ever born in Texas.”

Indeed, Adelle, Bonnie, Chloe and Daphne are alike in many ways. They’re tall and striking, with wavy hair and wide smiles. They all frequent CSM’s gym, where they weight train together, and all work as technicians in different local pharmacies. They even have matching scars from a childhood surgery that they all needed. Their conversations seamlessly segue from reminiscing about life as quadruplets – discussing the colors they were assigned at birth or the time they tried and failed to trick their chorus teacher by trading places, to sharing good natured bickering about who was allowed to get their license first or who got the best grades in high school.

But they’re also quick to point out their differences. Adelle is a self-described tomboy, while Chloe can’t imagine life without skirts. Bonnie loves experimenting with makeup, while Daphne can't be bothered. And while the four girls may look the same, their areas of study at CSM and chosen career paths, do not.

Adelle is majoring in criminal justice and said she hopes to be a Secret Service agent. Bonnie is also eyeing the Secret Service but said she plans to work behind the scenes as an analyst. Chloe, inspired by her godmother’s battle with breast cancer, shared that she is pursuing a career in radiography. And Daphne explained that she is majoring in biology as a step toward veterinary school.

Despite their different goals, CSM is meeting all of their needs. And that’s exactly why they’re here, shared mom, Shelley.

“My husband was relocated to D.C. from South Carolina for work, and what ultimately brought us to Southern Maryland was the community and the college,” she said. “Since the girls had diverse interests, it was important that we find a school that was able to support all their paths. With four kids starting college at the same time, we knew that we couldn’t offer much in the way of financial support, but they could live at home and we could support them in that way.”

The sisters are enjoying attending college together— “none of us would have chosen to be separated,” confirmed Adelle—but also relishing that, because of their different paths and their relative newness to the area, they are getting some much-needed space apart.

“People used to just call us ‘the Breedloves,’” said Bonnie. “I was a little bit tired of being looked at as one of the quads. As much as I love my siblings, we do get sick of each other sometimes!”

“It’s really nice that people here don’t know we are quads,” agreed Daphne. “I’m seen as my own person; my coworkers don’t even know I have three identical sisters!”

As the girls explore their own paths, they’re learning that they can still help each other find success. In addition to weight training together at CSM’s gym, they study together and have traded information on classes, professors and campus resources. 

They all agree that their ambitious natures were instilled in them by their parents. The sisters are Native Americans through their father and members of the Choctaw Nation, and Adelle joked that her parents always told them that when it came to grades, they were “A-merican Indians, not B-merican Indians!” At times in the past, that ambition veered into competition.

“I think it was always a healthy competition,” said Chloe, “but now we are taking our own classes and working on our own goals, so the competition isn’t really there anymore.”

“As the world is becoming bigger around them with opportunities and options, they’re realizing that their siblings are people you can lean on for support, love or shoulder to cry on,” agreed Shelley. An identical twin herself, she has encouraged the girls to find their own identities while remaining emotionally close.

The sisters shared that they know that heading in different directions means that separation is looming; living apart is a prospect that Daphne called “terrifying and unimaginable, but also nice.” They said they got a taste of what the next step might feel like when their older brother, Logan, joined the military last year, leaving the house uncommonly quiet.

But for now, they’re shared that they are focused on enjoying having each other close—but not too close—as they explore their own paths at CSM.

“This has been a really great place for them, they’ve really flourished,” said Shelley. “They’re coming into their own by being able to use the campus and the resources. It’s been wonderful that they can go there and find so much support.”

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