The 2011 Endicott College graduates are twin sisters, but their bond is deeper than the fact they entered the world just three minutes apart.
The Plante sisters are linked by soccer and their decision to continue their education and soccer careers at Endicott.
Both Kayla and Karyn had prolific careers at Sanford High School in Sanford, Maine where they earned numerous accolades both on the field and in the classroom. As members of the National Honor Society, Karyn and Kayla finished in the top 10% of their high school class. On the field, both were voted Southern Maine Athletic Association (SMAA) All-Conference players in three of their four years at Sanford. With this amount of success, the twin sisters had many options for where to continue their academic and athletic careers.
“In addition to knowing that I wanted to play soccer in college, I also knew that I wanted to play soccer with my sister,” said Kayla. "As a twin, we’d grown up on the same soccer and basketball teams since we were five and played tennis together in high school, and we developed that twin connection.”
Kayla, a midfielder, played in 79 games in four seasons while at Endicott and ended her career with 14 goals and four assists for 32 points.
Currently, Kayla works as a Marketing Communications Advisor for DNV GL which provides classification, technical assurance, software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas and energy industries.
Kayla resides in Groveland, Mass with her husband, Dan Leary ’10.
“I met a lot of great people at Endicott, including my husband, so it will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Kayla.
Karyn also feels that having the opportunity to attend college and play soccer with her sister contributed to her success while at Endicott.
"Not only was I fortunate enough to have my sister go to the same college as me, but I was lucky enough to have a twin sister to experience all that is involved in moving into a new college as a freshman," said Karyn. "There are so many milestones we have experienced together, lessons we have learned and challenges we have overcome. Growing up, she brought out my competitive nature and challenged me to improve on a daily basis, both academically and athletically. We both wanted to play soccer together in college, so our college search was very similar.”
Karyn played in 77 games at Endicott while playing midfield for the Gulls. Karyn scored 10 goals while contributing 10 assists for 30 points in her four seasons.
Karyn earned a degree in athletic training while at Endicott and began her professional career serving as the head athletic trainer at Masconomet High School in Topsfield, Mass. and currently is continuing her career in the health profession as a nurse.
Although they followed similar paths leading to Endicott, Karyn and Kayla have found that they are different in many ways.
“Although we shared so many experiences and interests, Endicott allowed us both to start identifying as individuals rather than twins,” said Karyn. “Kayla decided to study business, and I knew that I wanted to explore a career in science and healthcare. After college, we lived together for a couple years and eventually went our separate ways (but not too far)!”
Kayla backed up Karyn’s claim especially in regards to Endicott’s role in discovering their differences.
“We had a lot of similarities growing up and still do, but Endicott also allowed us to discover our differences. It was bittersweet going our separate ways after school, but I think we were more upset about not being able to share our closets! We both live in Massachusetts and still live close to each other, but I’m still trying to convince her to move closer to me on the North Shore.
Karyn attributes much of her current success to the experiential learning model at Endicott. During her four years as an athletic training major, Karyn completed internships at Sanford High School and Masconomet High School as an athletic training student as well as working with the Endicott football and baseball teams responsible for prevention, evaluation, patient education and rehabilitation of athletic injuries.
“The Endicott athletic training program had a great relationship with the surrounding high schools,” said Karyn. “This was evident as I was the third consecutive Endicott graduate to work at Masconomet.”
Much like her sister, Kayla also believes that the internship model played a major role in helping her identify the right career path within the business major.
“My first internship was in my hometown in Sanford, Maine at RE/MAX Realty One,” said Kayla. “As a freshman I was still trying to figure out my business focus, and this experience unveiled my interest in marketing. The following year I interned with the Portland Pirates, a minor league professional hockey team. This internship allowed me to combine both my love for sports and marketing. I completed my senior internship with Silverlink Communications, a healthcare communications company in Burlington, Massachusetts. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about what I was interested in for my future career.”
On top of their academic success at Endicott, Karyn and Kayla played a large role in helping the highly competitive women’s soccer team hit several key milestones during their four years at Endicott.
“One of my greatest memories is winning the CCC Championship my freshman (2007) and junior years (2009),” said Karyn. We also made playoff appearances my sophomore and senior year and even received an at large bid into the NCAA tournament in 2008 where we battled with the previous NCAA DIII Champion, Messiah College.”
Kayla, a senior captain in the 2010-2011 season, agrees that the 2007 and 2009 CCC championships were a special part of her experience while at Endicott.
“It was amazing to share it with my coaches, teammates, and family and having the opportunity to compete in the NCAA playoffs,” said Kayla. “There is no feeling like it and I’ll never forget it. It’s not just something we won as a team, but something we earned.”
Reflecting on her four years at Endicott, Karyn felt that there were quite a few people on campus at Endicott that made the experience so special.
“Being a part of the women’s soccer team gave me an opportunity to meet great friends, teammates and coaches. Coach Kenyon and my teammates made me feel at home and gave me continued support throughout my college experience. Dean (Deborah) Swanton, Professor (Beth) Donahue and the athletic training staff provided me with a solid foundation of knowledge that I have carried with me throughout my professional career.”
Similar to her sister, Kayla attributes a great deal of her success to members of the Endicott community that had a lasting impact.
“There are a lot of people that made my Endicott experience,” said Kayla. “Professor Aron Viner was one of my toughest business professors. He knew how to push his students to get their best work and always made class interesting. He taught me that there is always room for improvement and to always look for the deeper meaning and ask why. The women’s soccer team also had a great impact on my time there. Coach Kenyon and my teammates became my Endicott family for four years. Anyone who’s been on a sports team understands the camaraderie, long hours, teamwork, and respect that is built between teammates and coaches”
Coach Jodi Kenyon is quick to point out the feeling is mutual and that Karyn and Kayla left a lasting impact on the Endicott community and on the women’s soccer team.
“Kayla and Karyn were both very impactful players for the women's soccer program as well as in their contributions to the Endicott community,” said Coach Kenyon. “We could always rely on their competitiveness and commitment to our program goals to help us earn two conference championships and two NCAA wins. Although coaching identical twins was a challenge at times they each brought a unique style to our program and were both dangerous offensive threats. As people and members of the Endicott community, Karyn and Kayla were tremendous leaders, outstanding students and great ambassadors of our college.”