By Tia Lynn Lecorchick

Bailey and Austin Ross, 19-year-old twin brothers who graduated Morgan County High School (MCHS) in 2013, will realize a lifelong dream later this month when they begin studying at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana as pre-health majors. Both brothers plan on becoming orthopedic surgeons in the future. “We are the first people in our entire family to get accepted into Notre Dame,” said Bailey Ross. “We finally fulfilled this multigenerational dream of going there.” “I am super pumped. It’s what I have been working for my whole life. Going to Notre Dame is like a dream come true,” said Austin Ross.

My grandpa liked Notre Dame and my dad liked it too, and now here we are going; validating a whole family’s fandom.” Bailey and Austin are well-rounded men, involved in a myriad of interest outside of their lofty academic abilities. Both boys stay active in wrestling, participate in the College Republican club, and volunteered this summer at a local daycare.

They also joined the Notre Dame Global Medical Brigades, a service club that brought the twins to Nicaragua to provide healthcare to local villages. Bailey and Austin were both interested in medical careers, but it was Bailey’s shoulder surgery a couple of years ago that sealed the decision for him. “My sons are generous and want to help people,” said Candi Ross, their mother.

Austin and Ross have strived to attend the Ivy League institution since early childhood. Their grandfather was a Notre Dame football fan, introducing the university to their father, Brandon Ross, and then to them.

The twins, former wrestlers on the MCHS team, were not accepted right away after graduation. Initially, Bailey was waited-listed and Austin did not get in, but they were determined to get accepted together, nonetheless. They spent their freshman year making straight A’s at Holy Cross College, near Notre Dame. “They really put themselves out there in the community,” said Candi Ross. “The initial rejection was devastating.

The disappointment was rough, but they just kept pushing and now they are going. I always knew they would get there.” “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about your passion and your drive. It’s about how hard you work for it,” added Candi Ross. Bailey and Austin could not be deterred and encouraged each other every step of the way. We always push each other when times get rough. We couldn’t have done it without each other,” said Austin Ross.

The twins have two younger sisters, Savannah Ross, 15, and Addison Ross, 7, who both attend Morgan County School. According to Brandon Ross, the girls are incredibly happy for their brothers’ remarkable achievements.

Brandon Ross is especially proud since his sons are not only the first in the family to attend Notre Dame, but the first in the family to pursue a full-length college education. “They are extremely driven and they have really wanted to go to Notre Dame, even as small kids,” remembered Brandon Ross. “We talked about what it would take to get in a school like that, and they spent their entire school careers working toward that end.” “We are so proud. We come from an Irish-Catholic background, so for us, it doesn’t get any better than Notre Dame,” added Brandon Ross.

Bailey and Austin chose to pursue an education for a medical career to “give back” to the community and the world. “They want to develop their craft and become doctors. They want to work in third world countries and wherever God takes them,” explained Brandon Ross. “We all love Morgan County,” said Brandon Ross.

“We hope to take some of that greatness from learning abroad and bring it back to this county,” said Ross. Bailey and Austin also thanked MCHS teachers and coaches for all their support and encouragement over the years, and the unfailing love of their parents. “We feel like Madison is a great place to be and we are very grateful that we got to grow up here,” said Austin Ross. “The entire community of Madison, really, has all been very supportive of our decisions throughout high school and college,” said Bailey Ross.