Troy High School sophomores celebrating “fourth” birthdays today

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Dylan Arnold and Logan Westerfield are like most kids celebrating their fourth birthdays today.

The two neighbors love hanging out at one another’s houses, they both love playing sports, and they are both looking forward to getting their driver’s licenses in the very near future.

Arnold and Westerfield are “leaplings,” a term used to describe those born on February 29, or “leap day,” which only happens every four years. So, while the Troy High School sophomores are actually 16 years old, this will only be the fourth time they’ve actually been able to celebrate being another year older on their “true” day of birth.

“It’s kind of crazy because people usually ask what day I celebrate it,” Dylan said. “It’s not every year, but usually, I celebrate it on March 1. When (Leap Year) comes around, it’s pretty interesting, but usually I don’t think about it the other years.”

Meghan Arnold, a math teacher at Troy High School, said she never expected her son to be celebrating a leap year birthday, as his due date was well into March.

“I didn’t know I was going to have him early,” Meghan Arnold said. “He was due March 10. I knew the day before he could be born on the 29th, but everybody told me that you don’t go early with your first one. They kept telling me, ‘Oh, it’s a boy. You don’t go early with your first one.’ I knew it was a leap year, but I thought that would be too early. Then, the morning of, I realized what was happening.”

As a math teacher, Mrs. Arnold can appreciate the statistical improbabilities surrounding the “leaplings” at Troy High School. The chances of having a birthday on February 29 are approximately 1 in 1,461. In Troy’s sophomore class of a little more than 300, however, there are three students with a February 29 birthday. In a district of approximately 4,000 students, there are six students with leap day birthdays: three at the high school, one at the Van Cleve Sixth Grade Building, and two second-grade students, one at Cookson Elementary School and one at Kyle Elementary School.

Another statistical anomaly is the fact Logan and his mother, Kara, also share leap-year birthdays.

Unlike Dylan’s unexpected arrival on February 29, 2008, however, Logan’s birthdate was a little more deliberate.

“I wasn’t supposed to be born until March 1, but then my mom ran laps around the hospital to make me be born on February 29,” Logan said. “She thought that would be cool.”

What’s also cool is the fact Dylan and Logan found out they share the same unique birthday by accident when the Arnold family happened to move into the same neighborhood as the Westerfield family.

“We moved into the neighborhood, and Logan’s family was already living there,” Meghan Arnold said. “They also have four kids. They came over, I think it was him and his sister that came over, and they were like, ‘I heard you guys are the same age, do you want to play?’ So Logan and Dylan started playing, and then they realized that not only do they have the same birthday, but the same birthday on leap day. And we figured out after talking to Logan’s mom that we were in the same hospital at the same time.”

Over the last 16 years, both Dylan and Logan have become used to answering the same types of questions at the end of February.

“I usually get a few questions at first, like when I celebrate it, how it’s different from every other year,” Westerfield said. “It’s also interesting because my mom has the same birthday. So then I get more questions about that, too.”

Meghan Arnold, who also has four children like Mrs. Westerfield, said eventually, you just start to treat leap day birthdays like every other birthday, although she does try to make it a little extra special every four years when Dylan’s “true” birthday rolls around.

“You get all the same questions; ‘When are you going to celebrate it?’ We just pick whatever day is convenient. It’s either March 1 or February 28,” Meghan Arnold said. ” We just pick a day and celebrate it. We’re pretty low-key about birthdays because I have four kids. We do little things to make them feel special on the day of, so for him, we just pick a day and go out to dinner. But we always try to do something a little extra when it’s his birthday on the 29th, especially this year, with him turning 16. I’m sure they are all feeling special, getting a license and everything. I’m sure this one is a big one for them.”