Identical twins Amiya Chatman and Janiya Chatman came into their eighth-grade year hot off of four consecutive marking periods on High Honor Roll in 2020-2021.
They both landed spots on varsity cheer, both are active National Junior Honor Society members, both serve as Wildcat Ambassadors, both are musicians, both athletes, and, still, both are always on the lookout for something to learn or someone new to meet.
“Amiya and Janiya are two of the most polite and lovely young ladies we have in the middle school,” said WVMS Principal Georgianna Diopoulos. “Of course, they’re excellent students, both in Honor Society, and they’ve been such incredible Wildcat Ambassadors.”
Amiya and Janiya love their Ambassador roles, and appreciate how the program allows them to develop and apply leadership skills. Among the activities the girls have helped out with this year, the fifth grade welcome pizza party has been their favorite.
“In fifth, we were the new students. We went to that pizza party, and it was so fun,” said Amiya. “We could really relate to the new students this year and tell them, ‘I was in your shoes four years ago.’”
They also lent a hand at the district’s Trunk or Treat event recently as National Junior Honor Society members and as part of the SADD Club.
“Being in clubs lets us get to help people and do some community service, and we both love doing that,” said Janiya.
In fact, they love helping so much, they even help one another out.
“I used to help Amiya with her math homework,” said Janiya, adding that her favorite subject is math. For Amiya, her favorite subject is science because she loves the challenge of always learning new things.
“I’m so excited to study astronomy,” she said Amiya. “It’s definitely something new.”
The sisters’ STEM interests already have them looking eagerly ahead to High School.
“We went to the High School open house this fall and one of the classes we found so interesting was biomedical,” said Janiya. “So, we’re both already excited for that class in our sophomore year!”
Amiya and Janiya are also musicians. Janiya plays violin and Amiya, the flute. They’ve taken the year off from orchestra and band to make time for their many other pursuits, but they continue to play at home.
“We do pieces together, which is kind of cool, in our free time,” said Janiya. Amiya is looking forward to performing with the WVMS chorus at Six Flags this spring.
“As a reward to our eighth graders for their hard work in chorus, they get to participate and be adjudicated in a musical event at Six Flags, then spend the day in the park,” Diopoulos, the principal explained.
“Now, we’re practicing songs for our concert that’s coming up in a few weeks,” said Amiya, “but I’m already looking forward to the Six Flags trip, too.”
Janiya and Amiya excel at sports, whether lacrosse, rec basketball or Mileage Club runs. They’re currently exploring their competitive options for the spring (they say track is in the running), but are still feeling the thrill of their first season as Varsity Cheerleaders.
“I was so surprised we made varsity. Like, mind blowing. And homecoming was such a fun event,” beamed Janiya. “We’ve gotten to meet people through cheer, they’re all super-nice, and we just love cheering.”
‘Great positivity and school spirit’
“The season is ending, but it’s been really fun,” added Amiya. “I got to meet new people in the High School, so I think I’m more prepared for making friends there next year.”
Warwick Valley Middle School Associate Principal Jared Yapkowitz shared that he, Janiya and Amiya all started at the Middle School in the same year.
“We were new together, and I’ve seen Amiya and Janiya’s progress from fifth graders to the outstanding young ladies they’ve become as eighth graders,” Yapkowitz said. “They’ve always maintained a level of respect, responsibility, and positivity throughout their career in middle school. What they encompass with their cheer - their great positivity and school spirit - comes through in everything they do.”
So, maybe you are wondering, is what they say about twins true? Do they finish each other’s sentences? Amiya and Janiya laughed at the question, but gave one another a glance and shrug that suggested definitely maybe.
“Well, I’ve been told that both of your hands will go up at exactly the same time in math class, and both of you will have the same exact question in mind,” Diopoulos said.
The twins laughed, did not disagree.
“Amiya and Janiya have been shining bright spots in our community,” added Diopoulos. “We are surely going to miss them when they move on to High School next year.”