Wonder Twins
Cranberry teens honored at Jack and Jill ball
Butler Eagle
Written by:
January 1, 2013
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Twins Olivia and Forrest Barnes of Cranberry Township will be honored Saturday at the Jack and Jill of America’s 2012 Presentation Ball: “Our Journey: Creating Our Legacy” at the Omni William Penn Hotel.

CRANBERRY TWP — Forrest Alexander Barnes and Olivia Rose Barnes of Cranberry Township have shared a lot since their birth, but the honor the teen twins shared Saturday at the Jack and Jill of America’s 2012 Presentation Ball: “Our Journey: Creating Our Legacy” at the Omni William Penn Hotel is one of the most memorable.

“The Pittsburgh Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. has been encouraging, celebrating and showcasing talented youth through the biennial Presentation Ball since 1982,”said Bethany Criswell, media relations director.

“Preparation for the ball is a yearlong commitment in which eligible teens participate in several seminars including grooming, etiquette, leadership, educational, money, legal, community service and social events,” Criswell explained.

Jack and Jill of America, a nonprofit, international organization, is the oldest and largest African-American family organization in the United States with more than 9,500 members. The Pittsburgh Chapter was organized in 1944.

Olivia and Forrest are the children of Rufus Barnes and Stephanie Barnes-Jones. Forrest is a senior at Seneca Valley High High School while Olivia is a senior at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School where she is concentrating in piano.

“Our friends are very excited for us. Many of them are attending the ball,” they said. Both students plan to attend college upon graduation.

Olivia maintains a 3.8 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music National Honor Society and received a superior rating (PMEA) in music performance.

She is also a member of the varsity volleyball team where she served as team captain for two years, a member of the Piano Ensemble and the Women’s Choir and Concert Choir.

“My immediate plans are to attend a college or university to study arts and entertainment management and then law school,” said Olivia.

“Victor Hugh says it best, ‘Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.’ I thank God for all the gifts and talents that he has given me. I thank God for my parents, family and friends for all of their support and encouragement,” said Olivia.

For Forrest, sports have captured his passion and are where his goals are focused.

He is a running back for the Seneca Valley High School football team.

“My immediate plans are to study sports management in college and to play football while earning my degree. Graduate school is a real possibility,” said Forrest. “I believe that things are earned, when you work hard. Talent is God-given. Be humble. Remember your roots. Be thankful. Cherish every moment that you have on Earth. Fight hard every day to achieve your goals and set the precedent for those who are following you.”

“I thank God for my family and friends for their love and support,” said Forrest.

When asked about the secret to the twins’ success, their mother didn’t hesitate to respond.

“I believe that their Christian education and beliefs gave them the confidence to believe in themselves. Our priority as parents has always been God first and everything else will fall into place,” said Stephanie Barnes-Jones.

The Barneses share the honor with six other teens.