Four surviving quintuplets set to graduate from Perry High

jmink@macon.comMay 18, 2013 

  • Midstate graduation schedule

    Bibb County
    Tattnall Square Academy, 7 p.m. Monday, Ingleside Baptist Church
    Windsor Academy, 7 p.m. Tuesday, First Baptist Church of Christ
    Middle Georgia Christian School, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Middle Georgia Christian School
    Woodfield Academy, 7 p.m. Thursday, Mount Zion Baptist Church
    Georgia Academy for the Blind, 11 a.m. Friday, school auditorium
    Howard High School, 3 p.m. Friday, Macon Coliseum
    Central High School, 5 p.m. Friday, Macon Coliseum
    Hutchings Career Center, 7 p.m. Friday, Macon Coliseum
    Central Fellowship Christian Academy, 7 p.m. Friday, high school gym
    Rutland High School, 9 a.m. Saturday, Macon Coliseum
    Northeast High School, noon Saturday, Macon Coliseum
    First Presbyterian Day School, noon Saturday, Ingleside Baptist Church
    Southwest High School, 2 p.m. Saturday, Macon Coliseum
    Westside High School, 4 p.m. Saturday, Macon Coliseum
    Stratford Academy, 5 p.m. Saturday, Macon City Auditorium
    E.L. High School Academy, 5 p.m. June 15, St. Peters Baptist Church

    Bleckley County
    Bleckley County High School, 10 a.m. Saturday, Royal Stadium

    Crawford County
    Crawford County High School, 7 p.m. Thursday, J.B. Hawkins Sports Complex

    Houston County
    Houston County Career Academy, 6 p.m. Friday, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter
    Northside High School, 8 p.m. Friday, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter
    Warner Robins High School, 9 a.m. Saturday, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter
    Veterans High School, noon Saturday, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter
    Perry High School, 3 p.m. Saturday, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter
    Houston County High School, 6 p.m. Saturday, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter

    Jones County
    Jones County High School, 6 p.m. May 31, Centennial Center in Milledgeville

    Monroe County
    Mary Persons High School, 8 p.m. May 31, school football field

    Peach County
    Peach County High School, 8 p.m. May 31, Peach County High School

    Pulaski County
    Hawkinsville High School, 8 p.m. Friday, Hawkinsville High School

    Twiggs County
    Twiggs Academy, 10 a.m. Saturday, school gymnasium

PERRY -- Kerry Lineberger knows what this year’s high school graduation is going to mean for him.

“It’s going to be awfully quiet,” he said.

It’s an understatement for the father of quintuplet boys. One of the brothers was stillborn, and the surviving four will graduate Saturday from Perry High School.

Since the brothers were born in 1995, the family home has been anything but quiet. There have been busted windows, damaged cars, broken noses, pranks, sports and other symptoms of boyhood. They also have an older brother, 20-year-old Tully.

“There’s never a dull moment,” one of the brothers, Hunter, said.

But the four brothers also have formed an unshakable bond, not only with one another but also with their community.

When they graduate, the brothers will leave a gap in the school where they have become so well known that some faculty feel like their own sons are leaving home.

“It’s heartbreaking,” school secretary Nancy Whiddon said about the brothers’ departure. “They are just the life of the office and the school.”

The brothers -- Ben, Hunter, Luke and Tal -- are greeted by wide grins and called by name when they walk into the front office, chatting and slapping hands with school workers. A fellow student begins talking about the time her mother found a snake in the yard and immediately called the brothers for advice.

“We all remember the day they were born,” Whiddon said. “They are so very loved here at Perry High.”

Angela Heath, an English teacher at Perry High, vividly recalls when the quintuplets were born -- her twin boys were born a few months later -- and the two families quickly became friends.

“It was a huge, big deal” when they were born, Whiddon said. “They’re sweet and delightful, and they are all different.”

They seem to be mini-celebrities in the community. But, in many ways, they are normal teenage boys.

They have outside jobs, working at a staffing service agency, local garden nurseries and farmers markets. One brother plays baseball and football; another wrestles. They are the president, vice president and treasurer of their senior class.

But when they talk about their passions, they all mention agriculture. The brothers have grown up performing in livestock shows, where they mainly show hogs. Three of them will attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.

“It’s something you can say you do that not a lot of people do,” Luke said.

They have endured tragedy, suddenly losing their mother to a heart attack in 2008. While they do not all resemble one another, their father said he sees their mother in each of them.

Raising five boys keeps Kerry Lineberger “busy, busy, busy,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. There’s always something to do.”

Their days have been filled with camping trips, skiing trips, beach trips and plenty of playful mischief. As children, the brothers would wait until their parents turned the car into their long driveway, then roll down the windows and climb on top of the still-moving car.

Sometimes, they would slip onto the front windshield, startling their parents.

“Several times, I got (windshield) washer fluid sprayed at my mouth,” Luke said.

Then, there were the fireworks wars. The brothers would set up makeshift forts, throwing Roman candle and bottle rocket firecrackers at one another.

“I’m glad they have both their eyes,” Kerry Lineberger said.

But there’s a soft side to the feisty brothers.

Luke has a big heart, and Ben is an excellent cook, according to Tal.

“He cooked me chicken last night,” he said.

Luke said Tal likes to have the last laugh, and Ben dubs Hunter as the social butterfly of the family.

The brothers laugh and joke with one another, Luke declaring that he is the best looking and Tal warning his brothers that “I’m right next to you,” when they begin talking about him.

But when they pack up and leave home this summer, they will not be far from one another. Ben, Hunter and Luke will attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and Tal will be less than an hour away at Valdosta State University.

Still, it will be a significant separation for the four brothers, who have been identified as the surviving quintuplets their entire lives.

“The first thing someone asks is, “Where are the rest of you at?’ ” Tal said.

But there will be plenty of trips back to their Houston County home, the scene of firework battles, vehicle pranks and farm work, where their father will be waiting.

“I tell people it’s going to take me five years to repair the house,” Kerry Lineberger joked.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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