CHICAGO (CBS) — After lots of hard work, it’s a double celebration for the Beckley family in Pullman, as twin sisters Naomi and Nannette were accepted to Ivy League universities.
“At times we are competitive, and we do like to one-up each other, but at the same time we’re pretty supportive,” Naomi said.
“I even think that’s why we did so well in school, because neither of us wanted to be the twin that falls behind or loses to the other person,” Nannette said.
The Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy High School graduates are off to Ivy League schools in the fall; Naomi to Yale University, and Nannette to Princeton University.
From the classroom to athletics to public service, theirs is a classic American success story, where no one pulled strings or used clout to get ahead.
“I would say my parents are very proud, especially because they’re immigrants and part of the reason why they came to America from Sierra Leone is to provide a better life for both themselves and us,” Nannette said.
The sisters learned hard work from a dad now earning a living driving an Uber, and a mom who worked her way through nursing school.
“When she would be studying her nursing classes, we would be reading books or doing our preschool work or kindergarten work,” Naomi said.
Though they are excited about the places they’ll go, they have plans for the places they’ve been.
“I know that I’m going to come back here and make a change,” Nannette said.
For each of these young women, with their opportunity comes a sense of responsibility.
“Even though I’m going to be somewhere else, I know I ultimately want to make improvements and make the place I came from the best it can be,” Naomi said.
“It’s so many students on the South Side who could be going to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, any of those schools; but they’re too scared to put themselves out there. So I want to encourage students from this area, from lower income communities, never to be scared,” Nannette said. “I’m really proud of what I have done, but at the same time I’m proud of my twin sister.”
Naomi and Nannette have another important distinction: both were awarded the prestigious Gates Scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholarships will fund their complete education, as well as additional enrichment programs throughout their undergraduate careers.