Next stop: The University of Arizona
Over the course of their young lives in Porterville, the Randolph twins, Kayla and Sarah, have developed a reputation of being disciplined students and tireless volunteers in the community. Now all that hard work has created a very special opportunity that their entire family is ready to embrace.
The two will soon be graduating from California Connections Academy, an online school that they’ve attended for four years, and both have been accepted to the University of Arizona, where Kayla plans to study elementary education and Sarah will pursue the medical field/nursing.
“I always had a passion for taking care of people and nurturing them,” says Sarah on her choice of major.
Kayla has been volunteering at Porterville Nazarene Church as a kindergarten teacher and has been a paid teacher working in the preschool.
“That helped me gain the passion to help kids on their educational journey,” said Kayla.
But the twins are not taking on their next big adventure alone.
“We’re going with the girls to Arizona. We wanted them to have the best possible support they could get, so we’re going with them,” said Marcia Randolph, Kayla and Sarah’s mother. “We already have a house and are ready to go. My husband Ray and I were raised here in Porterville, and I’m very excited and a little bit scared. We’ve never lived outside of California. My whole adult life I’ve been in Porterville. Now we’re going to be in Tucson, and we went there for a weekend to visit.”
After spending so many years in Porterville, the family admits to having mixed emotions on the upcoming changes.
“It’s going to be an adjustment,” said Sarah, “but I think we can adapt to it.”
“I’m very excited,” said Marcia. “But the girls are also sad, because they are leaving their brother Dustin Small, his wife Cassandra, and their baby. We’ve always kept the family together. And this is the first time we’ve had to separate. My mom is going to stay here in Porterville.”
Porterville Church of Nazarene staff had a cake for the girls and a little going away party on Sunday, May 12. Kayla said they’ve been attending the church since 2009, volunteering there since 2011, and working there since 2016.
“The church has been a big part of their lives,” said Marsha.
Kayla and Sarah will be graduating June 19 in Irvine, and will be starting college in September. The girls both received scholarship money but they did not qualify for financial aid.
“We are hoping to get into the work-study program,” they said, adding they also have a go-fund-me site for sponsors, and Mom and Dad said they will help them as much as they can.
“School has always been our number one priority, and it’s an exciting journey to continue in Arizona,” said Sarah.
“It’s all going to be worth it,” said Kayla, “but it’s hard right now.”
The twins are both National Honor Society students, and both say a lesson learned along the way is that “the hardest climbs have the best views.”
They have said that many times to their other classmates, and now they get to live it.
The Randolph family has been very active in the community. They have hosted the Haunted House, car shows, and also organized the group ‘Humble and Kind’ to help feed the homeless. They also transitioned a man from homeless to working at R.J.’s Cafe.
“We’ve done a ton of fundraising for people who needed help. And we helped raise money for Sally Hernandez who needed a pancreas transplant. That was the beginning,” said Marsha.
The Randolph sisters won a proclamation from the City of Porterville for their humanitarian and volunteering efforts, and they received the Willie McCovey Award for all their volunteerism.