Ever since they were admitted to the University of Ottawa in Lettres françaises seven years ago, twins Valérie and Vanessa Labelle have been shadowing each other: first during their bachelor’s degrees, then with their master’s degrees and finally, in their teacher training at the Faculty of Education.
“In elementary and high school, our parents insisted that we be placed in different classes. But when we got to university, we chose the same courses so we ended up in the same classes, from start to finish, in all our degree programs,” said the twins, who carpooled to campus every day from Embrun.
As they were completing their master’s degrees, their thesis supervisor, Professor Maxime Prévost, strongly suggested that they select subjects so that each could develop a different field of interest. However, the twins had something else in mind: they both chose to focus on children’s literature, even though “we did choose different topics,” said Valérie. She described how her thesis dealt with Jules Verne to analyse initiation scenarios and the impact of adventure novels on children, while her sister Vanessa’s thesis analysed how the paranormal is represented in Les Aventures de Tintin.
So how did they do, academically? Their 92% average at the Faculty of Education clearly shows that they made the right choice, and the difference in their grades is tiny, namely less than 0,2%.
But even as the twins prepare to enter the job market, their sister act is far from over. In fact, both Valérie and Vanessa have found work with the French Catholic school board of Eastern Ontario, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre Est de l’Ontario (CECCE).
“To start off, we will be supply teachers in different CECCE schools. But who knows? Maybe we can eventually find jobs as teachers in the same school,” said Vanessa, smiling.