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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.
Although the two of you worked hard, you also mentioned that you also had to schedule recreation for balance. In fact, your lack of balance once got you banished to the glee club “sick corner,” a seating area for students to learn the music without infecting the other students. What happened?
Kirstie: During our first semester at Spelman, we didn’t have balance. We kept a cold because our bodies were holding on to so much stress. We were not scheduling enough rest or fun so we started scheduling going to the movies or something fun.
And the two of you faced other challenges as well including having your car stolen from your condominium during your second semester. Your mother’s prayer that “the thief’s buns be on fire until he brings the car back” ended up being a key prayer. Tell us more about this scary moment.
Kristie: Our friend’s theory was that the thief must have gotten plagued with severe diarrhea as a result of the prayer and left the car quickly to make it to the restroom. The thought was that when he left the car, even with all his belongings still in it, the police found it.
Many people expect pastor’s kids to get wild once they leave their parents’ home for college. Did the two of you have to deal with that temptation, particularly as home- schooled pastor’s kids?
Kristie: We actually had a great social life before we went college because of our church involvement, we were in the choir, we went to malls and to the movies. We were very social homeschoolers and we are not as sheltered as some people are so when we got to college, we felt quite equipped to make our own decisions, and we were confident in our identity in Christ. So when people would ask us about going to environments that we knew we didn’t belong in, we didn’t have much of a problem of saying no. And after a while, they stopped inviting us to those things. They would invite us when it was going to be something clean.
The two of you majored in music at Spelman College. Now that you are college graduates, what your plans for the future?
Kirstie: Before graduating, we were youth event coordinators and music directors in the music department at Word of Faith. We also helped to start a 150-voice youth choir. And in January, we were hired as youth pastors. We have a mentoring program for high school girls called Elite 31. We also run Thursday night service at the EpiCenter [the church’s event facility]. We asked the general manager at the EpiCenter if Thursday night could be the only night that students can use the facility for free so they can go bowling, use the arcade, play basketball, rock climbing. The only catch is that they have to come to the service and nurture their spirit after the social time.
For more information about Kirstie and Kristie Bronner, go to kirstieandkristie.com.