Emma Towers is the valedictorian of Spruce Mountain High School’s Class of 2023. Her triplet brother, Lucas, is the salutatorian. They are seen May 19 at the school in Jay. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

JAY — Emma and Lucas Towers are finishing their high school years as the top two students at Spruce Mountain High School.

Emma will graduate as valedictorian of the Class of 2023 with Lucas graduating as salutatorian.

Principal TJ Plourde said this is definitely the first time siblings have finished first and second since he became principal 11 years ago.

“They have been outstanding competitors, great siblings,” Plourde said. “They are just awesome students.” With only so many “high-end” classes offered at Spruce Mountain, Emma and Lucas have taken some classes together, he noted.

Because of their busy schedules, the same questions were emailed to Emma and Lucas.

“I would say we competed but it was always friendly competition that never hurt,” Emma responded when asked if they competed against each other and if that was important. “I have a competitive side to me so I would say especially when we were younger and enrolled in the exact same classes with the exact same teacher, I would strive to get the best grades possible, hoping they would be slightly better than Lucas’.”


In comparing report cards to see where they differed in grades, it was usually only a point or two difference, if that, Emma said.

Emma Towers is the Spruce Mountain High School’s Class of 2023 valedictorian. Her brother, Lucas Towers, is salutatorian. They are shown installing the sign May 16 for the National Honor Society community garden located near the school in Jay. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“As we got older, we took different classes, and school work got tougher, so we often bounced ideas back and forth with each other,” she continued. “We helped each other out (to) be better individuals, not better than each other. The competition was important because again it made us better people, and it made our bond stronger rather than break it apart. We celebrate each other’s successes.”

“We both pushed each other to get better grades for sure,” Lucas stated. “I am a very competitive person, so I obviously wanted to do better than my sister in anything. But we also worked together on assignments and projects and were able to bounce ideas off one another if we wanted the other’s advice.”

History was the favorite subject for Lucas. “I love learning about the generations before me and how their actions affected today’s world,” he noted. “But I do enjoy math and physics a great deal. I’ve been blessed with many great teachers throughout my school career.”

English or biology and chemistry were his least favorite. “Writing long essays really isn’t my favorite thing to do. I like hands-on and active projects and I feel I learn best that way,” Lucas stated.

“My favorite subject in school was always English (possibly Lucas’ least favorite),” Emma noted. “My mom is a second-grade school teacher and throughout elementary and middle school I would find myself in her classroom library on the weekends. I was supposed to be ‘sorting’ the books, but always ended up reading a good handful of them before I put them into their correct bins.


“I have always loved reading, which is one of my biggest hobbies during the summertime. I spent quite a few hours at the local library during the summer,” Emma said. “Reading stories has always given me an alternative world to put myself in. I enjoy writing and especially editing papers as well. Daily Oral Language (DOL) was one of my favorite parts of the day in elementary school, which was where we got to see a sentence written on the board and figure out the grammar and spelling mistakes.”

“My least favorite subject in school (which I think is Lucas’ favorite) is history,” Emma stated. “I always tried to become interested in historical events, but remembering dates and people and making it all understandable didn’t come easy for me. History was just never something I was super fond of or felt called to.

“Even in my free reading, I strayed away from genres like historical fiction and typically read realistic fiction,” she said. “I think the way most history classes were set up made me feel less engaged. I had a hard time having to read from a textbook every day; I couldn’t engage or feel super hands-on and connected to the concepts.”

Emma has learned a lot at Spruce Mountain, beyond how to solve an equation.

“I’d say one of the best lessons I learned at Spruce would be the importance of giving back to my community, especially with it being a small one,” she noted. “I learned that just because I live in a small community doesn’t mean I have less support. It might look like that in numbers, but with a closer community comes a stronger connection and bigger hearts.

“I have given back to my community in many ways throughout the last 10 years, and it’s been fun to see the connections I can make between different families and what not,” she said. “The support I have been given from my community has helped guide me to be successful and feel ready to go to college knowing they will always be here if I need it.”


For Lucas, the most important things learned at SMHS were how to problem-solve and how to develop a strong work ethic.

“By doing this I was able to use my time effectively to participate in many extra-curricular events and stay on top of my school work,” he noted. “And by having a strong work ethic, I was not only able to participate in athletics and other events, but I was also able to find success and accomplish many goals I had set out to reach by working extra hard.”

Emma was on the school’s soccer and softball teams, and played basketball in middle school. “Softball was always my favorite which I think was due to the close connection I had with my coach and teammates,” she noted. “In high school, I am the only girl in my grade to have played softball all four years, which allowed me to create special connections with peers from other grades.

“I played with the same group of girls up through middle school and high school. With soccer, I didn’t have a consistent coach until my last three seasons. Along with the coach inconsistency, I did not play with the same girls up through middle school,” she said. “Once high school came around, there were a solid three-four girls in my grade that played soccer for all four years and I developed a super close bond with them, which made the experience extra special.”

Although having similar roles for both sports (catcher and goalie), the experiences were vastly different for each sport and special in their own ways, making it hard to choose a true favorite, Emma stated.

Lucas played soccer, basketball and baseball. “I would say that basketball was my favorite sport,” he said. “This was mostly due to our success over the past four years, and the relationships that I was able to develop with my friends and coaches.


“My coach, Scott Bessey, set the bar high on what was expected, and that was what made our program so successful, and enjoyable. The bonds and friendships I made during my basketball career will no doubt last a lifetime.”

The siblings took part in other activities too.

Emma was soccer team captain her junior and senior years, softball team captain the last three years, and the National Honor Society vice president this year. She served on Student Council as Class Treasurer last year and was a member of Tech Theater for drama productions her freshman year.

Lucas participated in NHS, was involved in Student Council and the Phoenix Athletic Leaders.

Outside of school, Lucas the past four years has worked for Leclerc’s Carpentry in the summer doing carpentry, done lawn care at the St. Rose of Lima Church, and took care of several other properties in his neighborhood and around town. He also worked for Tim Walton at his Livermore condominiums.

“Other than work, I have been involved in many community service events through my church, St. Rose in Jay, and participated in youth group activities,” Lucas noted.


Emma has been heavily involved in community activities outside of school as well. “I have been a member of the St. Rose Youth Ministry group since I started middle school, which gave me many opportunities to hang out and do Bible studies with my peers as well as give back to the community through events like helping package and prep free meals/Thanksgiving baskets, delivering Christmas gifts, etc.,” she stated. “I also played on a summer softball tournament team called the Cyclones (from about seventh to 10th grade) which consisted of players from the Franklin County area. I have helped volunteer for Area Youth Sports when it fit into my schedule. In the fall I would spend 1-2 Saturdays with the Little Kickers soccer program of AYS and help run fun stations for children ages 3-5.”

In the spring Emma co-coached the AYS 12U Red Sox softball team by attending practices and working with the catchers as well as keeping the scorebook on occasion. She also does summer house painting and year-round pet sitting for families in the area.

The thing Emma will miss most from her time at Spruce is time spent with her close group of friends and the activities they did together — ranging from chilling in their favorite teacher’s classroom to stressing about how to finish decorating their hallway before the judges came through during winter carnival week every March.

“I will also miss the hours spent watching sporting events as well as hours put into practices and games every day of the week during the fall and spring,” she noted.

Lucas also is going to miss his friends and the relationships made with teachers, coaches, and the staff. “I have grown up with an amazing group of friends, and have made so many special memories in the classroom and on the court/field that I will certainly miss,” he stated.

After graduation Emma plans to attend Saint Joseph’s College of Maine to major in psychology. Her ultimate goal is to become a sports psychologist. This summer she will work and pet sit as well as hang out with friends.


“I am thankful for the support and small community that I know has helped shape me into an independent leader,” Emma stated. “I’m thankful for my friends and important figures in my life that have helped me along the way.

“My advice to underclassmen isn’t necessarily the stereotypical ‘get involved’ but more of making the most of it. I remember especially during homecoming week and winter carnival (Phoenix Olympics) that I always felt so busy and stressed with the different events going on and keeping track of it all.”

At times Emma wanted to fly under the radar, be like some classmates who didn’t participate in extra activities like hallway decorating or float building. “Looking back now, I realize I made some of the best memories with my class doing those things,” she stated. “The days are long but the years are short. The things I stressed and worried about during those weeks have become funny memories.”

Lucas will attend University Maine Orono to study construction engineering technology. “I am also interested in taking some classes on coaching, something I may be interested in after I graduate college,” he noted. He will work this summer as a carpenter at Leclerc’s Carpentry, as well as taking care of the lawn at St. Rose again and a couple of other properties.

“I have had a wonderful high school experience, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of many individuals,” Lucas stated. “First, my parents for all of the life lessons and sacrifices they have made for me, and my sister. My teachers for all of the support and effort they gave to me to further my education. My coaches, in particular, Scott Bessey, Jake Bessey, and Adam Gettle for believing in me no matter what, and pushing me to the next level. And the community for showing their appreciation and support at sports games and events.”

Emma and Lucas are the survivors of triplets born to Chris Towers and Lynelle Morin-Towers of Jay. It was a high-risk pregnancy and brother Isaac was not expected to survive, but did, their mom noted.

“Lucas and Emma spent time in the Maine (Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and on the Barbara Bush floor … about 12 weeks for Lucas … 13 for Emma … both arriving home slightly before their actual due date,” Morin-Towers said. Isaac spent his entire life in the Maine Med NICU as his lungs were so poorly developed due to the lack of amniotic fluid.

“There were a couple of times we were close to taking him home, but health complications prevented that from ever happening. Eventually he outgrew his lungs and passed away at 10 months of age.”

To honor Isaac’s memory, Emma and Lucas are still referred to as triplets.

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