Norwich Of the 11 children in Kathy Kirby's afternoon preschool class at Norwich Elementary School, six share a last name - and a birth date, and a mom and dad.
The Headrick sextuplets made a splash simply by being born, premature but healthy, at a Wichita hospital on April 6, 2002.
On Thursday, they reached another milestone as they arrived with their parents, Sondra and Eldon Headrick, and big sister Aubrianna for the first day of classes at Norwich Elementary.
Toting book bags and dressed in matching blue T-shirts, the sextuplets - three boys, three girls - posed for a picture outside the school before heading to Kirby's classroom.
"It's unbelievable," Sondra Headrick said. "Sometimes, time just dragged by every minute of the day, and other times - like now - in the blink of an eye, here we are ready for preschool."
Kirby, a teacher for 21 years, was ready with smiles and nametags for Melissa, Jaycie, Danielle, Grant, Ethan and Sean and their five classmates.
Her objective for the year is to prepare her preschoolers for kindergarten. They'll be skipping and hopping, sharing and working together, visiting the fire station, learning some reading, art and arithmetic.
"We want them to learn to socialize, sit and listen," she said.
The sextuplets found plenty to do right away. Melissa made a beeline for the Barbie Doll salon beauty station with Jaycie right beside her. Grant and Ethan found the toy cars and slid them down a plastic mountain roadway. Sean lifted the lid of a trunk filled with play costumes, and Danielle sat with a carton of plastic spools waiting to be threaded together.
The weeks leading up to the big day were a blur of appointments and shopping excursions for the whole family. At a Wichita clinic where the sextuplets had health checkups, Sondra waited in one exam room with the girls and Eldon stayed with the boys.
Getting their shots brought tears all around, but the boys cried louder than the girls, Sondra said.
Thursday afternoon, the parents said goodbye to their brood before driving away in the family van.