The Peet family of Peachtree Corners currently have four children and a cousin in the Georgia Tech marching band or color guard. From back row left, Sterling, Taylor, Alexandra Humphrey, Dianna, Stephen, Taylor and front row, from left, Christa and Devon. (Special Photo)
PEACHTREE CORNERS — When the entire family goes to the same college, the youngest members of the family begin to face questions.
Were you pressured to go?
Are you only going because your siblings and parents went?
Did you even consider another college?
Georgia Tech freshman Christa Peet, the youngest in the family, faced plenty of those re-Peeted questions as she came closer to her college decision.
“When everybody goes to one place, the youngest two kind of say, ‘Maybe I should be the one that’s different,’” Christa said. “But if it’s the right fit, then it’s the right fit.”
Christa’s the last of the Peet family to enroll at Georgia Tech after three older siblings, a cousin, both parents and two uncles. The four children of Stephen and Dianna Peet, Peachtree Corner residents, are all in the band or color guard, and will be marching in the Music City Bowl in Nashville when the Yellow Jackets play Ole Miss.
Sterling, the oldest of Stephen and Dianna’s four children, plays the trombone, while Taylor, the second oldest, plays the euphonium, Devon plays the percussion symbols and Christa is in the color guard. Cousin Alexandra Humphrey, who is between Sterling and Taylor, plays the clarinet.
“We’re very proud of our Georgia Tech kids and their accomplishments,” said Stephen, the patriarch, who graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Tech in 1980. “I’ve maintained that they needed to go where was the best choice for them. There is somewhat of a leaning of not Georgia.”
The musical element of the Peet family began in middle school when the parents suggested that their children try music, and if they didn’t like it, that’s fine. The idea was that since they were soon going to Norcross High School, the band could be a way to find friends and make the transition easier.
“If they had a place in the band, they would go into that high school with a group of people that they knew, and it would help them belong from the very beginning,” Dianna said. “So we did encourage the music, but we told them, you try it once, you don’t have to do it. It wasn’t like we mandated them to stay in music.”
That also helped the Peets in college. The family’s believed to be the largest family to be active in the Tech band simultaneously, and even in a group of 300, almost everyone knows the Peets.
“You get through band camp, you go into the first week of classes with 300 friends versus every other person on campus with 10,” Devon said. “It’s kind of like having a leg up, you have people from every year that are in the band and you can talk to. Every major, every different permutation.”
Sterling, Taylor and Devon have all majored in some aspect of computer science, while Christa and Alexandra each study in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Devon said he’s taken a class with every relative currently in school but Christa, and the family agrees that when they take a class together, it’s a combination of collaboration and competition. Or as Taylor calls it, “collaboratition.”
Added Sterling, “If you’re scoring against someone else, you want them to get the closest to your score, but you slightly ahead. It’s not competitive, I have to do exactly what I have to do. It’s definitely a collaboratition.”
College has also meant working together on car rides to and from campus, and other scheduling logistics. And while they have a lot in common academically, each of the Peets and their cousin offer a unique contribution to working on a project.
“We all specialize in a different part of what we do,” Taylor said. “Sterling is a lot better at working with different devices and making things go. I’m pretty good at actually implementing it. Devon’s pretty good at making it look good. Christa’s pretty good at making it look good, and Alex just likes to use it.”
Added their mother, “It’s really cool to see them mature to the point where it’s really OK to do stuff together when it works out that they have similar interest.”
While Georgia Tech was on most of their minds as youngsters, they considered other schools. Even with considerable financial aid expected, Devon had Massachusetts Institute of Technology in his final two schools, and Christa was encouraged by a family friend, who gave her a Hokies T-shirt, to consider Virginia Tech.
“Dad’s telling me I don’t have to go to Tech, so let’s think about some options,” Devon said. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I wanted to go to a prestigious institution.”
Sterling was one of the students at orientation who proudly stood up, and remained standing, when the questions came about how early in his life Tech was a consideration. In high school, Sterling wanted to be an aerospace engineer, but has since transitioned to the computer science field.
“By the point where I was looking at colleges, if you want to do engineering, there are other colleges you can do engineering in the state of Georgia, but not with any significant amount of prestige,” Sterling said.
The once-in-a-lifetime bowl game opportunity was not lost on the matriarch, who monitored the bowl selection process often, and even called her husband while he was checking out at Kroger on the night of the reveal.
“We’re getting tickets aren’t we?” Dianna asked Stephen. “This is the only time my four kids are going to be in a bowl game, so we’re getting tickets.”
And the type of tickets wasn’t even a question, Stephen recalled.
“Well, we’re getting the best ones,” Dianna said, “Because we want the best seats we can get.”