Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Twins Persevere after Loss of Parents

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Twins Persevere after Loss of Parents

Article excerpt

Tiara and Tierra Travis lost their mother when they were high school sophomores and their father when they were juniors, but these 18-year-old twins still listen to Mom and Dad.

They stay out of the same forbidden neighborhoods and still hit the books. (Tiara has a 3.4 weighted grade point average and Tierra a 3.5 at Taylor Allderdice High.) Just Monday, Tierra said, she was awakened by her mother's voice at 6:30 a.m. saying, "You have to get up for school."

Smiles and laughter are not strangers to them, but they'll never pretend their world hasn't been rocked. Blessed by a close family, they're living in the West End with their older sister, Tionna, 26, and her 3-year-old daughter, Londyn. But on those occasions when another student who lost a parent has approached them for advice, Tiara says she tells them, "You're not going to be OK, so don't try to think you will be. ... Make sure you eat and take care of yourself."

The twins are among the city high school students being honored today with an Amelia Earhart Award by the Zonta Club of Pittsburgh. Every spring, the club chooses one young woman (or in this case, twins) from each high school who has overcome adversity to qualify for the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship.

Some are coping with a physical disability. Each story is compelling in its own way. When I heard so many good things said of these twins who lost both parents in less than nine months, they were the ones I wanted to meet.

Their mother, Kimberly Ann Green, was only 50 when she died two years ago. The second anniversary of her death fell on Mother's Day, and Sunday the twins went out to her gravesite, and to their father's nearby, in Allegheny Cemetery. Tiara doesn't like going, but she went and cried. Tierra spoke to her mom and dad, making it seem as much like a regular conversation as she could.

Their mother and father, Rufus "Pete" Travis Jr., met as 11- year-olds. Both later went to Peabody High, ran track and played basketball, and both were very wise parents, the girls say. But their mother needed a double lung transplant. …

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