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A twin win: La Jolla High School grads and brothers are awarded $200,000 scholarships to Yale

Cole (left) and Croix Black are twins and La Jolla High graduates who are off to Yale University on identical scholarships.
Cole (left) and Croix Black are twins and La Jolla High School graduates who are off to Yale University on identical scholarships.
(Courtesy of Cole Black)

Recent La Jolla High School graduates Cole and Croix Black are twin brothers — nearly identical in every way. Right down to their matching $200,000 scholarships to Yale University beginning this fall.

“It feels great,” Cole Black said of winning the scholarships, which were bestowed on the twins in September by the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program after a lengthy application process.

“Once you earn the ROTC scholarship,” Cole said, “then you can apply it to any college that you get into that has an ROTC program. Croix and I were both pretty set on Yale — that’s where our parents went to school. It’s always been kind of a goal, a dream college for us. When we got into Yale, that’s where we applied the scholarship.”

Under terms of the scholarship, he said, he and Croix will enlist in the Navy for five years following their graduation from Yale, in New Haven, Conn.

The four-year scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence, professional development and leadership in the community.

Croix said many things helped him and his brother earn the scholarships, from being Eagle Scouts in La Jolla and playing water polo and lacrosse at LJHS to participating on the school’s mock trial and debate teams.

“We’re actually partners on the debate team,” Croix said. “Cole and I do a lot of similar things.”

“We’re both really passionate about serving our country,” he said. “Our dad was in the Navy for five or six years as a SEAL, so we’ve always grown up around the naval community.

“We put a lot of work in to get the scholarship, doing different sports and stuff over the years, and so we’re happy to pay it off and we’re excited to open that chapter in college.”

The brothers agreed that the physical fitness test was the toughest of the scholarship requirements.

“San Diego especially is a really competitive district” with many naval families vying for the award, Croix added.

Cole advised NROTC scholarship hopefuls to get “on board with [the application process] early” and to lean on support from parents, teachers and counselors.

While at Yale, Cole and Croix will pursue a rare divergence in their interests. Cole said he will explore history and political science, while Croix plans to study math and philosophy.

Cole — “more of the artistic twin,” according to Croix — took up ceramics in the past year and has “been cranking out some pretty impressive pottery,” Croix said.

Cole, however, said Croix “has a little artistic bone in his body, too,” noting that his brother has become adept at shaping surfboards recently.

“It’s kind of hands-on artistry,” Croix said.

“We’re pretty identical across the board, in all honesty,” Cole said.

“I really didn’t think we’d have the opportunity both to go to Yale and then both to go to Yale at an affordable rate,” Cole added. “We’re just really fortunate for that all to play out in our favor.” ◆