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Meet Carol & Carolyn Baker-Lowery

Carol and Carolyn Baker-Lowery decided to return to school years ago and have studied side-by-side so that they could receive their diplomas together, nearly 50 years since they left high school as teenagers.

“We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time,” shared Carolyn. “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.”

From an early age, Carol and Carolyn have been inseparable. Their mother owned a Winchell’s Donut House, and when they were young, they would fold boxes to help with the business. As they grew older, they graduated to work the service counter on Friday and Saturday nights while trying to keep up with their education. Yet despite being hard workers and social children, schoolwork always came as a challenge.

During their youth, there needed to be more awareness of student learning differences. The twin sisters felt most of their teachers and administrators simply assumed they couldn’t keep up. As a result, the twins had had enough of feeling like lost causes in the public high school system, and they spent a short period at a continuation high school. They both had become teen mothers and decided it would be best to enter the workforce instead of finishing high school. Carol became a social worker while Carolyn pursued a career as an in-home childcare provider/preschool teacher.

Then, more than 30 years after leaving high school, Carol found a reason to step back into the classroom. In 2006, Carol was volunteering at a local childcare development center, and she wanted to take on more responsibility; that decision meant more schooling. Unlike her childhood, this academic journey would be different. A few years earlier, Carol was evaluated and discovered she had ADHD and dyslexia, which helped improve her entire pathway to success.

Armed with a better understanding of her needs, Carol found a renewed passion for school. Thanks to the MiraCosta College disabled service counselors, she was able to develop a personal success plan that put her on track to receive her diploma. Class after class, she utilized every resource available. 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. Now roommates, Carolyn quickly took notice of her sister on Zoom sessions with professors all day.
Joked Carolyn, “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.”
Soon after, the two sisters, who had done almost everything together for over 60 years, made a new pact. They would align their courses so they could graduate together in 2023.

“It has been a hard journey,” shared Carol. “But it will all be worth it when we step on that stage with our caps and gowns, together!”

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