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Twin sisters from Oakland heading to Yale — together

Staff PhotojournalistI recently had the chance to sit down with Kim and Jack Mejia-Cuellar, twin sisters from Media Academy (Fremont campus) in East Oakland who haveĀ both been awarded full scholarships to Yale University. It was inspiring to hear their story — and how, as one of their teachers put it, they shaped their education into something rigorous and meaningful.

I was struck by something Kim said about feeling like outsiders, at times, for working so hard:

“No one said it outright, but our behavior was strange,” Kim said. “By setting goals for ourselves while other people were setting limits, we were always sort of the odd ones out. We felt pressured, but we didn’t let the pressure get to us.”

Both said that they doubted they’d be where they are if they didn’t have the other as a support system. What about the other bright minds who will show up to school tomorrow, but without an identical twin or best friend with the same drive, discipline and self-assurance? What can their families, friends and the school system do (or avoid doing) to help them set goals instead of limits?

Photo of Kim and Jack (left to right) by Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

ADVICE FROM JACK AND KIM

I asked Jack and Kim if they’d write some advice for younger students, and they managed to squeeze it into their hectic schedules. Here it is, just as it came in: Continue Reading