Spelman College valedictorians Kirstie and Kristie Bronner talk to UrbanFaith about “Double Vals” and how faith and hard work is their strategy for success.
The name Bronner is associated with success from business to ministry. For some, the name is associated with the Bronner Bros. beauty and hair care company and its extravagant annual international hair shows. For others the name is associated with UPSCALE Magazine as Bernard Bronner is the publisher of the national lifestyle magazine. And still others may know the name through the Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, a 20,000- member church in Atlanta headed by Bishop Dale C. Bronner. However, Bishop Bronner’s twin daughters, Kirstie and Kristie Bronner, set themselves apart from the typical associations of the Bronner name, achieving an accolade in an entirely new arena.
In 2013, the twins became the first twins to be valedictorians of their graduating class of Spelman College, also the alma mater of their mother and grandmother. Now, the Bronner twins can add another accomplishment to their résumé. The 23-year-old twins are now published authors, writing “Double Vals: The Keys to Success in College and Life Beyond.” Part memoir and part self-help book, the twins give readers a rare view inside the unique world of being pastor’s kids and identical twins. From being spied on while on dates with their boyfriends at the movies to people staring at them to find their different physical features, the two have many interesting stories to share. Although they do not claim to be geniuses or have photographic memories, they do pinpoint study and time management skills and perspectives they used to achieve their 4.0 grade point average with nine to 10 classes a semester without pulling “all nighters.” Carnegie Books released the book last month in time for graduation season.
The Bronner Twins spoke with Urban Faith about “Double Vals” and their future plans.
What prompted the two of you to write this book?
Kristie: It was actually in our senior year of college. We had a teacher who gave an assignment for us to ask three of the closest people to us a few questions about, ‘What would we do if we fulfilled our full potential? What would that look like?’ So they all said many things that we had already thought about, but one thing we had not considered that each of them said is to write a book. We started really thinking about that, and we decided okay, we will write a book. We knew immediately what it would be about because of how important we felt our testimony throughout college was, all the things that God taught us to help us be as successful as we were. So three weeks after graduation, we started writing.
The two of you really stress time management. Tell me how the two of you “master the minutes.”
Kirstie: We really felt that along the way God really helped us to learn strategy of how to not waste time. College students, particularly are known for wasting time. For example, college students spend extra time throughout the week going out to lunch with their friends in the middle of the day. They don’t really think about it. They think, Well, I gotta eat, right? What we did was pack our lunch. And it would take about 30 minutes to eat our lunch like on a random bench at the fine arts building. And if we didn’t pack our lunch, we would go to the cafeteria and make sure that we limited our time to about 45 minutes. When the average student may go off campus to eat and they could spend an hour to two hours eating with friends and then talking afterward.
The two of you wrote about some of the “classroom miracles” you experienced. How did these happen?
Kristie: We teach that you work like it is all up to you and pray like it is all up to God. And that is when you can really trust that God’s grace is sufficient for you. You’re a student and you have multiple classes. There’s no way you can memorize every single word in every single book. And even if you did, there are some things that are not in a book that you will be tested on sometimes. There was one time that we mentioned in the book where we studied very hard for our first test in one of our classes. The teacher ended up putting a lot of information on the test from the first day of class when everyone thought she was just giving introductory information. It was not in the book. The questions were not multiple choice so we had to write out the definitions of things that we had not heard in a while. I know at the same moment we were both praying, ‘Lord help me.’ We both wrote the exact definitions and got 100s on that test. The Bible talks about the Holy Spirit bringing things back to your remembrance, and that is what He did for us.
When we studied abroad in Italy for a semester, that is when we feared the most about losing our GPAs [grade point average.] We put in two hours of a preparation a day for one teacher’s class, but at midterm, we still only had Bs. She told us that we should be happy to have Bs because she didn’t like to give out As. So we prayed about it, and at the end, she gave us As. God moved on her heart.
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