Pennsylvania twins born prematurely headed to Harvard 

Francis Akhalbey June 15, 2023
Gianna and Tianna Tout-Puissant are headed to Harvard -- Photo via @giannatianna_twins on Instagram

It is quite evident that gaining admission into an Ivy League school doesn’t come easy, as hundreds of thousands of brilliant students apply to such prestigious institutions annually. However, despite the high number of applications received, only a tiny fraction of students are offered admission.

Harvard University, for instance, granted admission to only 3.4% of 56,937 students who applied for the institution’s class of 2027, per The Morning Call. Among these lucky students who successfully made that list are 17-year-old Pennsylvania twins, Gianna and Tianna Tout-Puissant.

“We logged into our application portals at the exact same time, and then we read, ‘Congratulations,’ on each other’s screens, and then we just started all screaming,” Gianna said in reference to the day they got to know they had gained admission. “My mom was crying. It was crazy.”

The identical twins, who are both student-athletes and recently graduated from Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, had to overcome health scares during infancy as they were born prematurely and also suffered serious health problems. 

“To see them and how they’ve blossomed into the young women they are today, it’s like they’re miracle babies,” the girls’ mother, Leah Tout-Puissant, said. 

The twins, however, wouldn’t just be focusing on their books at Harvard, as they also intend to play Division 1 basketball for the Ivy League school’s women’s team. The academically gifted and talented girls successfully combined their studies with sports as they played basketball at the varsity level for four years, and hope to continue playing the sport at Harvard. 

“They put the work in, year in and year out,” Moravian Academy’s girls’ basketball coach, Avon Mack, said.

On their quest to become surgeons, the twins said they intend to major in chemistry for their pre-medicine level, adding that they will seek admission to medical school after their undergraduate studies, The Morning Call reported.

Gianna wants to become either a cardiothoracic surgeon or a neurosurgeon, while Tianna wants to be a neurosurgeon. The sisters also said their experiences with chemistry at Moravian Academy were the reason behind their decision to major in the course at Harvard. 

“I think a lot of their peers thought it was just natural for them,” their chemistry teacher, Cole Wisdo, said. “But I had the real pleasure of seeing just how crazy hard they were working at it.”

“Hard working is an understatement,” their mother also said. “When you talk about hustle and grind, those are the words that define Gianna and Tianna when it comes to their schoolwork.”

Though the twins have equally made commendable strides in their studies, as well as in sports, their personalities aren’t the same. “I know this sounds cheesy, but we’re very yin and yang,” Tianna said. “She says this crazy idea, and then I’m like, ‘OK, let’s think about the pros and cons of this before we do it.’ And then she gets me to step out of my comfort zone.”

The twins said they’re glad to continue pushing each other to achieve their goals when they further their education at Harvard next year. “We were really set on going to college together,” Gianna told The Morning Call. “And the fact that we were able to both get into such an amazing college was a dream come true.”

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: June 15, 2023


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