Givens Neema Ochieng and Gayle Baraka Ochieng, identical twins from Kisumu, are over the moon after scoring 417 and 401 marks respectively in the just-released Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results.
The pair were among the top performers in Kisumu County, while Givens was also among the top performers nationally, finishing just 11 marks behind top student Michael Warutere of Riara Springs Imara Daima, who scored 428.
The learners who studied at Citam Schools, Kisumu, were in the top eight at the learning institution.
While Givens said the results were beyond her expectations, Gayle expressed disappointment, saying she had expected to do better.
"I'm happy about the good performance, but the scores came as a shock because this is the first time my twin has beaten me by such a huge margin," said Gayle.
In an interview, the 14-year-olds said their good performances were the result of teamwork.
While Givens was good at Science, Gayle always outscored her in Social Studies.
In their free time, they would sit together and give each other advice on their best subjects and revise past papers to improve each other's grades.
After constant revision and consultation with teachers, the twins were convinced they would get good grades.
"When we sent the short message for the results, the system did not work. We tried several times and when the reply finally came, I could not hide my joy. I was expecting a score above 410, but 417 exceeded my expectations," said Givens.
Givens explains that she and her sister were always the top two students in their class.
At one point, Gayle's performance in Kiswahili had dropped drastically and her twin was always there to guide her and help her through revision.
Desire to do well to be rewarded
They explained that their success was also the result of faith in God, frequent consultation with teachers, encouragement from parents and a desire to do well to be rewarded by teachers.
Givens and Gayle now hope to join their dream school, Loreto Limuru, a school they have admired for the past three years.
"While my twin, Givens, is fine with getting into a different school from me, I don't think I will be able to cope without her, she is my backbone, she always helps me to adapt very quickly to different environments," says Gayle.
She says, adding, "Givens is outgoing but I am not, my twin is talkative and makes friends very quickly, whenever I am alone it takes me time to make friends but she makes it easier for me whenever she is around.”
Gayle explains that Givens is her best friend and the person who understands her best. She always looks out for her.
The bond between the two is so strong that they can easily cry when one of them is provoked by the people around them.
While Givens wants to be a cardiologist when she grows up, Gayle wishes to be a diplomat because she wants to interact with different people locally and internationally.
She says that being a diplomat is also unique since most students are always looking forward to studying engineering, medicine or becoming a pilot.
The two have vowed to continue working together to achieve better results once they sit their Form Four national examinations.
Their mother, Lillian Mainye, described them as amazing children, go-getters and obedient.
"I am speechless, I expected them to do well, I had even promised to give them a special gift if they did well," said Ms Mainye.