Triple Take

Parker triplets

From left to right: Incoming freshmen Jason, Justin and Jerod Parker pose for a photograph outside of Snyder Hall, their home for the 2009-10 school year. The brothers, identical triplets, earned scholarships to attend UNC. Photo by Barry LaPoint

Jason, Jerod and Justin Parker don't mean to cause any confusion.

There's just no way around it being identical triplets.

The incoming freshmen enrolled at UNC beginning fall semester after receiving inaugural First Generation Scholarships.

"We were very pleasantly surprised with the scholarships, Jerod said. "They were pretty substantial. UNC made it a lot easier to attend."
The brothers, who graduated last spring from Bennett High School, each received a $4,000 First Generation Scholarship '' scholarships offered for the first time this fall to new freshmen whose parents did not graduate from college.

"We were thrilled to death," remembered Michelle Parker when she and her husband, Richard, learned their sons would be receiving scholarships.

With the help of their parents, the brothers moved into their UNC residence hall room this week. They will live in what Richard aptly refers to as a designer-triple in Snyder Hall.

While sharing an interest in music, each is taking up different majors. Jason will study Biology, while Jerod sets his sights on a degree in Music Education and Justin pursues a degree in Psychology.

Jerod admits he has mixed feelings about attending college and living with his brothers.

"At the same time, it's a nice safety net to have a person you can trust and take care of you," he said.

Each of them is musically inclined and could start up their own jazz band based on their skill set. Jason plays the trombone, Justin plays the baritone saxophone and Jerod plays the tenor sax, trumpet and guitar '' which the aspiring band director is teaching his brothers to play.

They moved into Snyder a couple of days early this week to attend a three-day conference hosted by the university's Center for Human Enrichment, which provides academic support to undergraduates, with a focus on first-generation and under-represented students.

Their paths will also cross on campus when their Spanish class '' the lone class they're taking together '' meets weekdays. Jerod says they have no plans to engage in any good-natured identity swaps.

"No, we wouldn't do that," Jerod insists. "It's so easy to confuse people, it's not fun anymore."

- Nate Haas