Ann Arbor teen accepted to all 8 Ivy League schools
By Lauren Slagter
on April 26, 2017 at 6:15 AM, updated April 26, 2017 at 8:03 AM
ANN ARBOR, MI – The college acceptance letters Jadal Williams and Taimor Williams have received this spring barely fit on their family’s dining room table.
Jadal is accepted to all eight Ivy League schools – Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Dartmouth and Brown – plus the University of Michigan, Duke, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology and Harvey Mudd College.
His twin brother, Taimor, did well himself. He got into UM, Dartmouth, Cornell, Duke, MIT and Berkeley.
The 18-year-old seniors at Ann Arbor’s Huron High School, are now tasked with the difficult decision of where they’ll attend this fall, and the May 1 decision day deadline is looming.
Jadal wants to study mechanical or electrical engineering, and Taimor wants to go into civil and environmental engineering.
The twins’ parents, Chauncey and Tory Williams, prioritized education for their four sons at home as well as at school. Jadal and Taimor excelled academically from a young age, which Tory attributes in part to them trying to keep up with their older brother, Chauncey Jr., who now is a sophomore in Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The youngest Williams brother, Shane, is in sixth grade at Tappan Middle School.
Both twins skipped first-grade math, and Jadal also skipped seventh-grade math. Taimor is on track to complete nine AP classes by the end of high school, and Jadal will finish nine or 10. They both take math classes at Washtenaw Community College.
“Everything was co-parenting, where we would think of things that they could do,” said Chauncey Sr., who is an academic adviser at UM with a background in sociology. “I’m proud of them pursuing education at a high level.”
Almost every afternoon, Tory would hold “home school,” where she gave her sons an assignment to complete before they could go play with friends outside. The boys would gather around the same dining room table where Jadal and Taimor sat on Tuesday, April 18, with their college acceptance letters spread before them.
“It was just really making sure they stayed up on their studies. They know I really push academics,” said Tory, who has a master of social work degree from UM. “We just wouldn’t take anything below, what we say, ‘high quality outstanding work.’ If you didn’t understand something, let’s keep going over it until you understand it.”
Beyond their schoolwork, Jadal and Taimor are co-presidents of Huron’s Interact Club, and they help with out with the Ann Arbor Math Olympiad Club and Allen Elementary School’s Science Olympiad Club. Jadal has played tennis and golf all four years of high school, and Taimor is vice president of Huron’s chess club plus teaches chess to Mitchell Elementary students.
Taimor said he’s always been fascinated by trying to understand how things work, and he enjoys using principles from different subject areas to explore whatever interests him at the moment.
Jadal’s favorite subject is math, and he said it comes to him naturally. Still, it was uncomfortable at times to be the youngest student in class.
“It was kind of daunting at first,” he said of being a 10th grader in a senior math class. “I was also the only African American in class as well, and here I was two years younger than everyone else. But as the year progressed, I became friends with the other students and we all helped each other out.”
The brothers say they support each other rather than compete. They both wanted to give themselves good options for college, and they didn’t necessarily set out with the goal of seeing how many Ivy League schools and other prestigious universities would accept them.
“I was just very grateful that I had been accepted to all these great universities,” Taimor said. “I thought that all my hard work had paid off.”
Tory had the happy job of informing her sons of their acceptance to the Ivy League schools, as Jadal and Taimor were visiting Duke the day the announcement was made via email.
A few days later – on April 3 – they received the physical acceptance letters, which turned into a memorable moment for the family and their mail carrier.
“He rang the doorbell and said, ‘I have a lot of mail,'” Tory recalled. “He came back, and he came back a third time, and he said, ‘You must be very proud.’ When I closed the door, I just (burst into tears). As I was giving them the materials, I couldn’t even see any more. I had to take off my glasses as I was giving them each their packets.
“That was pretty memorable right there.”