There is a new sense of rivalry stirring between a brother and sister in one Cass County community.
Freeman twins Christopher and Caroline Bynum, 18, recently graduated together from Cass Midway High School May 12, but come August, the siblings will go their separate ways – to opposing schools with one of the oldest college rivalries west of the Mississippi – the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas.
The longtime Border War rivalry between KU and MU predates the Civil War, and for the Bynum household, it’s surely to go on for at least another four years, if not for their lifetime, between the brother-sister duo.
The twins are a part of a 43-member class of Midway graduates.
Throughout their life together so far, the siblings say that they have long been competitors – especially in the area of academics.
This year, Christopher finished his high school career with a grade point average a mere one-tenth margin above his sister.
“He’s always been smarter than me so I’ve always tried to beat him out of things that he’s not so good at,” Caroline said. “He always joked that he was going to apply to somewhere and I wasn’t going to get into it and he would because he was smarter than me.”
In preparation for college, Christopher accepted a scholarship to study aerospace engineering at KU, and Caroline has decided to pursue MU’s health sciences major in pursuit of becoming a doctor. Caroline is also excited to be marching with the Mizzou band at Tiger games playing the clarinet in the fall.
Upon their completion of college – the twins both have big dreams.
Christopher hopes to someday work for NASA or SpaceX and Caroline is leaning toward becoming a surgeon.
While there is an established rivalry, Caroline does have one advantage over her brother – the benefit of in-state tuition.
“I think (our parents) like MU better because it is in-state tuition,” Christopher said.
Differences aside, the twins said their mother, Theresa Bynum, tries to keep her support equal for their respective colleges by routinely wearing both a “MU mom” and “KU mom” shirt.
“She tries to wear them both equally,” Caroline said.
“I think the rivalry is going to get worse,” she added. “It’s going to get bad, I think.”
The twins’ older sister, Victoria Bynum, was the first child in the Bynum family to consider MU, but ended up studying at Truman State University.
“Her whole plan was to go to MU but it was just too big for her,” said Caroline, of her sister. “I’ve visited MU and I just love the campus and could see myself living there for a long time. I thought it was perfect for me.”
Because of his older sister’s interest for MU, Christopher said that he somewhat naturally became interested with KU as a mild revenge.
When it came time to look for a college, he said he was drawn to KU’s campus with the recent addition of a new aerospace engineering building.
“They have a really good program,” he said.
Besides his studies, Christopher said he is most looking forward to attending Jayhawk basketball games while at college.
One other thing is for certain, he said. “I’ll never wear a MU T-shirt.”