Twins Cade and Makena Kronemyer don’t look too much alike, their personalities are noticeably different and their interests spread broadly in opposite directions.
But twice this past year, the 18-year-old Carmel Valley siblings earned twin achievements. In 2018, both were named to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s All Academic Teams for varsity athletes with good grades. And last year they both earned scouting’s highest honors: Cade made Eagle Scout and Makena earned the Girl Scouts Gold Award.
In some families, sibling rivalry drives brothers and sisters to battle to outperform one another. But the affable Kronemyer twins are self-driven and simply enjoy celebrating each other’s successes.
“We’ve always been close,” Cade said.
The twins seemed destined from birth to make an early mark in the world. Born two months premature, Cade weighed 3 pounds, 13 ounces, at birth and Makena was 3 pounds, 5 ounces. Their mother, former K-8 schoolteacher Cynthia Kronemyer, said the twins were each other’s best friends and champions from an early age.
“They had a very nice yin and yang relationship,” she said. “Throughout their early development, Makena was the extrovert and Cade always came to her to be his problem-solver. Then when they got into school, he excelled in athletics and his stock rose.”
Today, Cade is the gregarious win who leads conversations, sitting forward and engaged. Makena is more reserved and introspective, happy to let her brother speak first.
Both took up athletics as toddlers, each playing multiple sports before narrowing the field down to their true passions. For Cade, it’s soccer. For Makena, it’s golf and horseback riding.
Like their father, attorney Dan Kronemyer, the twins grew up in La Jolla. But their desire to play sports at a Division 1 school led the family to move in 2015 to Carmel Valley, where they are seniors at Canyon Crest Academy. The twins each dedicate up to 14 hours a week to athletics.
“Playing sports has taught me how to be patient and how to work with a team for a shared goal,” Makena said.
Scouting was another activity the twins took up at an early age. Cade started Cub Scouts at age 4 and Makena joined Brownies in first grade.
Makena loved Girl Scouts for the lifelong friendships she made in Troop #3048, the group activities and the social and marketing skills she learned selling cookies door to door.
With her troop several years ago, she earned the Silver Award for rebuilding the pony arena at Rawhide Ranch. Last year, she also completed the requirements for the rarely bestowed Gold Award. She earned the badge by teaching water conservation to students at La Jolla Elementary and rebuilding two vandalized benches at the Point Loma Native Plant Garden.
Cade was following the family tradition when he rose through the ranks in Boy Scouts. He is a member of Troop #4 in La Jolla, one of the oldest troops west of the Mississippi River. He is the sixth male in his family — including his father and four uncles — to become an Eagle Scout. He earned the Eagle rank last year by rebuilding an information kiosk at Presidio Park in Mission Valley.
“Balancing scouting with other activities was hard,” he said. “But the benefit of scouting is that it matured me every step along the way. Without it, I wouldn’t have learned valuable skills like time management.”
The twins have also been involved for many years in charitable programs with their mom. Cade’s a member of the National League of Young Men philanthropic organization and Makena’s in the National Charity League.
As seniors this past year at Canyon Crest, the twins’ paths rarely crossed on campus because their academic interests are so different. Cade likes history, arts and business classes. Makena prefers English, computer science and digital animation. They said some fellow students don’t even realize they are twins.
The twins are now preparing for college and both have decided to pursue their educations out of state. Makena earned early admission to her school of choice, Miami University of Ohio, where she’ll study interactive media studies and marketing, with a goal of working for a humanitarian organization. Cade hasn’t settled on a college or a major yet but he’s leaning toward a business degree.
Since they’re likely to head in different geographic directions next summer, the twins said they’re enjoying the time they have left in each other’s company by swimming and kicking a soccer ball around together in their spare time.
“We never really fought when we were young, and with each passing year we we appreciate each other more,” Cade said.
— Pam Kragen is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune