In the Media: Sisters Isabel and Sophia Jewell prove age and homeschooling are not barriers to academic excellence

November 16, 2022 by Coby Zucker - A&S News

Before beginning their undergraduate degrees, Isabel and Sophia Jewell had never been taught in a classroom. Homeschooled their whole lives, the sisters started university at the ages of 12 and 14 respectively.

In early November, Isabel and Sophia graduated from the University of Toronto with master's degrees in Slavic languages and literatures with perfect 4.0 GPAs. During a video interview with Global News’ Brittany Rosen, the sisters speak about the pride they felt after graduating from U of T.

“It was really incredible,” Sophia says to Rosen. “Getting to go together and being together up until the last moment. It makes it really special.”

“We were really excited, especially because it’s the two of us,” Isabel says. “It’s a big family moment for sure.”

Throughout their undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Jewell sisters took every class together. In 2021, they completed honours bachelor of arts degrees in modern languages and cultural studies from the University of Alberta.

The sisters studied Slavic languages at U of T for their graduate studies. They were motivated by their Polish heritage and their prior studies in Ukrainian. Both were recipients of the prestigious Canada Graduate Scholarship as well as a University of Toronto Fellowship, which meant tuition and living expenses were covered.

Whenever they faced stigma about their ages or doubts over their homeschooling background, the sisters were motivated by one another and by their studies.

“We always had each other,” Sophia says. “And that, for us, was really the main thing: To go to courses and learn and absorb all the content.”

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