Twins Go to Penn


Belinda (left) and Bernadine (right) with their older sister Agnes.

Whether they are altar serving at mass, leading clubs, or doused in the green Ambassador jacket, there is no doubt you have seen the Kumi’s somewhere around BT’s campus involving themselves with all it has to offer. 

The Kumi twins, more commonly known as Bernadine and Belinda, will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy touting an impressive 7% acceptance rate.  To add to this accomplishment, the sisters have been awarded full-ride scholarships to pursue their higher education.  

The first question that often comes to mind when thinking about twins is, who is older?  Nine minutes apart, Bernadine steals the title for eldest twin, though both sisters seem to have the qualities of leadership and discipline often associated with older siblings. 

The girls have always had grand aspirations of attending a prestigious institution, but as stated by Belinda, “if someone had asked me if we were going to the same college I would have confidently said no”.  Bernadine added, “it really is by chance that we are ending up together”. 

While the girls will be spending the next four together, their paths will be different.  Belinda will be studying at the Wharton School of Business, and Bernadine the College of Arts and Sciences.  The two have chosen not to room together, Belinda jokingly adding, “We’ve been together for eighteen years and I’ve had enough!” 

Their relationship seems to be a balance of competition and collaboration.  When asked if they were at all competitive with each other, their answers were completely different.  Bernadine claimed a healthy competition, while Belinda seemed to disagree, saying, “We keep each other in check and build off each other. I just don’t think we are competitive at all!”

From a young age, the two were surrounded by an African culture valuing hard work and dedication, which they credit both their mom and older sister Agnes, a BT alumna and current Yale student, with instilling in them.  “Seeing our mom sacrifice so much for us really made us want to do better, and seeing Agnes do the same thing we had always wanted to do was the real catalyst for our success”, said Belinda.

But what made the Kumi’s stand out in the eyes of demanding admissions officers?  Was it their stellar grades and community involvement?  Or was it something else?  Bernadine believes it was that they “weren’t all talk.  We involved ourselves in things that we actually enjoyed, and I think that colleges saw that.” 

The paths they took in leadership and extracurriculars were not born with the goal of impressing future admissions officers but instead stemmed from a genuine interest and desire to give back to their community, which they say has given so much to them. Belinda praised the kindness and generosity of Blessed Trinity as an inspiration in their want to give back to others.  “Every opportunity and experience we have been given by BT has made us want to share in that generosity towards others”, says Bernadine. 

Both have plans of giving back to their community, as theirs did to them, in college and beyond. Bernadine hopes to be an immigration lawyer, and within that job helping others navigate the college process and achieve success as she did. Belinda similarly plans to focus her career on giving back to others as an entrepreneur.

The halls of UPenn have held the footsteps of presidents, innovators, and business moguls, and Bernadine and Belinda Kumi will soon make their mark as well.