OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — A set of twin sisters will walk across the stage at MiraCosta College Thursday to receive their "Adult High School" diplomas, 50 years after the pair dropped out in their teenage years.
According to the college, Carol Baker and Carolyn Baker-Lowery decided to return to school years ago and have been joined at the hip as study buddies in their pursuit of the diploma.
Carolyn says the duo has been looking forward to this moment for a long time.
“It will be one of the best days of our lives and we can’t wait to be up there and look out into the crowd to see our children and grandchildren,” she says.
The press release says the sisters' mother owned a Winchell's Donut House, where they helped with various day-to-day business activities while growing up. They took on more responsibilities as they got older, including working the cash register on weekends while trying to juggle schoolwork.
School always was a challenge for the twins, and they felt most of their teachers and administrators assumed they couldn't keep up. As a result, Carol and Carolyn felt like lost causes and became disillusioned with the public high school system. They then entered a continuation high school for a brief period of time.
Ultimately, the two decided to enter the workforce made more sense than finishing high school, especially since they now had children of their own to look out for.
Carol became a social worker, while Carolyn sought a career as an in-home childcare provider and preschool teacher.
Fast forward about 30 years — Carol found a new motivation for wanting to return to the classroom.
In 2006, she was volunteering at a local childcare development center but wanted to take on a larger role with more responsibilities. This decision meant more schooling — and unlike her childhood, she now knew why her coursework was so challenging all those years ago.
A few years earlier, Carol was evaluated for and diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. Equipped with the tools to combat learning disorders, her pathway to success opened up.
With a renewed passion for education at the front of her mind, Carol met with the MiraCosta College disabled service counselors, who helped craft a personal success plan that put her on track to get her diploma.
"Class after class, she utilized every resource available," the college's press release says. "Even when she became fully disabled and her sister Carolyn had to move in to serve as her caretaker, Carol would spend hours on Zoom sessions with her professors until she understood a topic."
While living under the same roof, Carolyn couldn't ignore how much time Carol had devoted to the lectures with her professors.
"At first I thought the girl had lost her mind, but then I couldn’t let her leave me behind. I asked what I would need to do to get my diploma too," Carolyn says.
The sisters had done almost everything together for more than 60 years, so it was fitting when they promised to line up their coursework to graduate together in 2023.
“It has been a hard journey,” Carol says. “But it will all be worth it when we step on that stage with our caps and gowns, together!”
MiraCosta College's Adult High School graduation ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Community Learning Center, located at 1831 Mission Avenue in Oceanside.