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‘Exceptional as they come’ — Snell twins leave their mark on GA high school

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    GWINNETT COUNTY, Georgia (Gwinnett Daily Post) — It’s likely few people have gotten as much from their high school experience as Buford High School’s Snell twins — Callie and Caroline.

In addition to being outstanding students, the list of extracurricular accomplishments the two graduating students have participated in is staggering. In fact, it might actually take less time to list what Callie and Caroline haven’t done while at Buford.

The twins have participated together in competition cheerleading, sideline cheerleading, track and field (where both qualified to compete in the 2021 Class AAAAAA state meet in Carrollton), gymnastics and cross country. They are multi-year state-placers in pole vault — they finished 1-2 in the event at this season’s Region 8-AAAAAA meet — and both ran on a school-record 3,200 relay at region.

Both also managed to acquire a year’s worth of college credits through a dual-enrollment program at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.

“They are as exceptional as they come,” said Buford athletic director Tony Wolfe of Callie and Caroline. “There’s a lot to talk about with those two.”

And in the days leading up to graduation, Callie and Caroline reflected on their time at Buford High and their impending departure from their family and community nests.

“I’m really sad about it,” Callie said. “I’ve had so many good memories and experiences here. I’m definitely sad to leave this community I’ve known all my life but I’m definitely excited to see what happens next.”

“I feel really sentimental about it,” Caroline said. “We’ve grown up in Buford and it means so much to me. I’m ready for the next chapter in my life but Buford will always hold a special place in my heart and I look forward to coming home when I can.”

After graduation, Callie and Caroline plan to take a gap year, move to Alabama to establish residency requirements and then enroll at Auburn University, where their parents Amy and David met.

Father knows best

While the Snell twins have certainly made an impact at Buford, their father David arrived at the school 22 years ago as a teacher and coach, helping paving the path. While some teens might not be all that crazy about having a parent on the same campus, it’s the opposite with Callie and Caroline.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, but honestly, I’ve never known anything else,” Callie said. “It’s fun to see him the halls and it’s great to always have someone I can go to and always have someone there for me. I’ve enjoyed it and I like seeing him in the halls. I also can’t imagine it any other way.”

“I loved being there with him,” Caroline said. “I couldn’t imagine any other way. He means so much to both of us and we have such an amazing relationship with him. I’ve loved every second and it makes my day to see him in the hallways.”

David Snell came to Buford in 1999 and has served as an assistant football coach for a dozen state football championships and has presided over three state titles for the girls track and field team. Amy Snell has also done her part for education in the community, working for years as a math teacher at Buford Middle School.

David — who is a nephew of Auburn coaching icon Pat Dye — admitted it’s not going to be easy for him (or Amy) to see their daughters take the next step in their respective lives.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “They’ve had an awesome time here and feel blessed to be here. They’ve given a lot and Buford has been good to them. It’s a great place to raise your family. I decided several times not to leave and just stay here. We’re rooted here, we raised our family here and I’ve got zero regrets.

“We don’t know how to feel about it. It’s bittersweet. I’m sure we both will be taking a lot of trips to Auburn. And I’ll dive deeper into track, football and yard work.”

Interestingly enough, although the twins have done so much together, they had decidedly different responses when asked about their favorite extracurricular activity.

“I think I would have to say track,” Callie said. “I just love track and I loved being coached by my dad. In track, nothing is mental – when you work hard, you get results. I enjoy that.”

“My favorite extracurricular activity at Buford has probably been the dance program,” Caroline said. “It’s my favorite because it’s so fun and I enjoy every single second of it. Dance is what I truly like to do. It’s a passion of mine and it has given me the opportunity get out of my comfort zone and just perform and do things I wouldn’t be comfortable doing if I wasn’t in that program.”

And when asked if there was anything they wanted to do at Buford but didn’t get the chance, the twins’ responses once again went in different directions.

“Before this year, I would have said cross country, so it was a blessing in disguise that competition cheer got moved back to winter this year and we had the opportunity to run cross country,” Callie said. “I’m grateful we had that experience because we love cross country.”

“I feel like I did everything I wanted to do,” Caroline said. “I would have loved to play soccer, I will say that. We played soccer when we were little but if I could focus on one thing at Buford, I would have loved to do that. But I’m grateful for everything that we’ve done at Buford.”

‘I’ve loved every second of it’
Once they get to Auburn, it’s likely Callie and Caroline will drop the “athlete” portion of their student-athlete status, but at this point, anything and everything is still on the table.

“Right now they’re not going to compete,” David Snell said. “As their dad and as their coach, I’ve got that in the back of my head (about competing) but right now that’s not the plan…They’ll be happier. They enjoy running and fitness and they probably just want to be normal for a while.”

“I think we’re just going to start off being students,” said Callie, who plans to study nutrition and briefly harbored thoughts about competing in track at a smaller school. “We’ll look at things when we get there. We’ve kind of thrown out cheerleading and maybe even track. If we got the opportunity to walk on at Auburn we’d like to do that but it’s in the Lord’s hands and we’re going to enjoy it either way – as student-athletes or as students. We’re excited.”

As the cliché goes, a high school student’s life consists of long days and short years. The Snell twins have made the most of their time at Buford and it’s clear their memories are plentiful enough to sustain a lifetime.

“It’s been everything I hoped it would be, plus a lot more,” said Callie. “I’ve loved my experience at Buford and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I’m really sad to leave but I’m excited for what lies ahead.”

“Buford has been the most special thing to me and I am very confident I will always cherish it so much,” said Caroline, who plans to study nursing. “I don’t think we could have grown up in any better place, honestly. I’ve loved every second of it.”

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