Two Sets of Sisters with Special Stories March in Spring Commencement

Twin sisters Angie and Elisa (Ellie) Reedy of Athens, TN, have graduated from UTC with degrees in criminal justice, and they have taken all the same classes, lived together, worked waiting tables at the same establishments and even share a cell phone. The 22-year old women were also both accepted into the Georgia Police Corps. With federal and state funding, they will be compensated for their undergraduate education and in return they will work for four years in Georgia police departments, but not in the same cities! There is a strong possibility Angie will go to Marietta and Ellie will go to Rome.

Before they take their assignments, the pair will train together at the Forsythe, Georgia Public Training Center from June to November. Proud mom Chris Reedy says her daughters are incredibly motivated.

"They are preparing by working out 2-3 hours a day. They have been runners since they were really little, and now they are getting into weight training," she said.

Chris adds that the two are not at all competitive, but work together as a team. "For their first two years at UTC, they shared books," she said.

Angie says she and her sister have enjoyed their time together at UTC, but it is time for something new.

"I'm going to miss Ellie a lot, with both of us having the same work and school schedule. But we both feel it is time to find our own identity," Angie said.

The two are hoping to pursue master's degrees over the next four years, and once again they are in agreement.

"We are probably not going to get our master's degrees in criminal justice. Law school is a possibility," Angie said.


Lareaka and Katrina Birdsong, two sisters from Giles County near Pulaski, Tennessee had a lot of support behind them when they marched in Spring Commencement. Fifty family members and friends from the church they attend, Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church, came in a caravan to the McKenzie Arena.

"Lareaka and Katrina are the first ones in their family and church to graduate from college," according to the pastor of the sisters’ church, Reverend Ernest Bellefant. "We are very proud of them. They are both well-spoken and well-known in our community," he added.

Katrina’s major was psychology with a minor in sociology, and Lareaka majored in communication with a minor in sociology.

Lareaka, who turned 23 years old on May 5, the day of Spring Commencement, is less than one year older than her sister. The two have roomed together on campus and enjoy each other’s company.

"Lareaka is very involved with the youth of our church. She organizes plays and events at Christmas and Easter time, and does a lot of benefits and fundraisers to support the youth," Bellefant said.

Both women will be living near their hometown following graduation, finalizing plans for their career moves. Bellefant is grateful the two will remain a presence in his church.

"Sometimes the Lord works through people with open and loving spirits, allowing them to evangelize. These two young women have not run from that idea, " Bellefant said.