Kennedy Marley (left) and Caydence Marley began clerking at the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan in Regina on June 3. (Photo: Larry Kwok)

Following parallel paths at USask

Identical twin sisters Caydence and Kennedy Marley, award-winning students and citizens of the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan, are the College of Law’s top graduates.

By Shannon Boklaschuk

Throughout their time as undergraduate students at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), identical twin sisters Caydence and Kennedy Marley have had nearly identical academic journeys.

The high-achieving 23-year-old sisters studied in USask’s College of Arts and Science for two years, earning numerous scholarships and awards and drawing inspiration from their humanities and social science courses before being admitted into the College of Law, where they subsequently studied for three years.

“We, quite frankly, did an identical undergrad,” said Caydence. “We took the same classes; we followed the same map to law school.”

The similarities did not end there. On June 5, during USask’s Spring Convocation, the sisters both earned their Juris Doctor degrees and graduated at the top of their class—with Caydence receiving the Law Society of Saskatchewan Gold Medal for the highest overall academic average throughout law school, and Kennedy receiving the Law Society of Saskatchewan Silver Medal for attaining the second-highest cumulative average throughout law school.

The sisters were thrilled to receive the good news about their medals and have enjoyed sharing it with their friends and family.

“It’s just been a week of making exciting phone calls and celebrating,” Kennedy said in a recent interview.

“It’s been fantastic,” added Caydence.

Caydence recalls calling their mother, a teacher, as soon as they received the good news. Not surprisingly, the sisters’ mother “was just ecstatic.”

“She ran down the hallway to tell our stepdad, who also teaches at the same school, and she said his jaw dropped to the floor,” said Caydence. “She was just so excited that both of her daughters got to share that moment together.”

It’s not the first time the sisters have been the top two students in their class. A similar situation occurred when they were in high school, when Kennedy graduated from Grade 12 with the highest academic average—earning her the Governor General’s Academic Medal—and Caydence graduated with the second-highest average. Now, the opposite has happened at the post-secondary level.

“In high school we went one and two the other way around, so it was really great to end law school in the opposite way. Of course I am over the moon about receiving the silver medal, but I’m even more excited that Caydence gets that moment now, too,” said Kennedy.

“It was just amazing. I still can’t believe it. It doesn’t feel real yet,” said Caydence.

Caydence Marley (left) and Kennedy Marley set their sights on studying law after taking undergraduate classes in women’s and gender studies. (Photo: Larry Kwok)

The sisters, who grew up on an acreage east of Regina, had originally planned to become doctors when they began university, but they later set their sights on law after taking undergraduate classes in women’s and gender studies.

Studying at USask proved to be the right choice for them, as moving to Saskatoon enabled them to remain close to their family in Saskatchewan while also bringing forward new adventures in a new city.

“We have a huge family in Saskatchewan,” said Kennedy. “USask was far enough away to experience a new city, but still close enough to home.”

“It’s a beautiful campus here, so that was a big draw for us,” added Caydence.

Since beginning their studies at USask in 2019, the sisters have excelled and earned awards and honours each year. They began their first year of university as recipients of prestigious entrance awards, with Kennedy receiving the Circle of Honour – George and Marsha Ivany President’s First and Best Scholarship upon graduating from high school. Valued at $40,000 over four years, the award is presented to an Indigenous student graduating from a Canadian high school who is proceeding directly to university, with a minimum academic average of 95 per cent. Caydence, meanwhile, received the Wolfe Family General Achievement Entrance Scholarship, valued at $26,000, which is awarded on the basis of similar criteria.

Later, as students in the College of Law, Caydence and Kennedy continued to excel and earned many more scholarships and awards. Their academic achievements and similar interests also put them on similar paths; on June 3, two days before their convocation ceremony, they both began clerking at the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan in Regina. They will be there for a year before they are officially called to the bar as lawyers.

Kennedy said she is excited about the opportunity to work with justices at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

“This is the last required step in our academic legal journey,” said Caydence. “After that, we’re hoping to come back to Saskatoon to start in private practice in criminal law.”

Learning about the opportunities offered to them at the Court of Appeal was another great piece of news in an academic year that has been jam-packed with great news for the sisters. Prior to being awarded their gold and silver medals, Caydence and Kennedy, who are members of the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN-S), were honoured as two of the eight 2024 recipients of the Order of Gabriel Dumont Bronze Medal. Induction into the Order is one of the Métis Nation’s highest civilian honours, with the award recognizing leadership, community service, cultural initiatives, and overall academic performance. Caydence said she and her sister are particularly proud to receive the honour from their Métis community.

“It is one of the most cherished awards that I’ve ever received,” she said.

As recipients of the MN–S University Sponsorship Program, Caydence and Kennedy are also grateful for the support they have received from the Métis community throughout their undergraduate studies. As Caydence recently told the MN-S, “I acknowledge that I have been blessed with many gifts and valuable opportunities being a part of this rich and beautiful Métis community. Hence, I feel a responsibility to continuously educate myself and to seize this opportunity to add to the growing number of Indigenous female voices in the field of law. It is a great privilege and honour to carry this responsibility with me beyond law school and into my legal career.”

Kennedy added: “Being a young Métis woman learning to reconnect with my culture has been a challenging but beautiful experience. I have met so many new faces, listened to so many stories, and received so many words of advice and encouragement from my relatives. I do not take for granted all the knowledge people have shared with me and, as I begin my career as a lawyer, I will return the favour and use my knowledge to support our community in any way that I am able.”

In addition to their gold and silver medals, Caydence and Kennedy received other awards at USask’s Spring Convocation. Both sisters were awarded College of Law Academic Excellence Scholarships, the Saskatchewan Law Review Honour, and the Jay Watson and Brian Pfefferle Criminal Law Prize. As well, Caydence received the A. John Beke Prize in Children and the Law, the Saskatchewan Provincial Court Judges Association Award in Criminal Law, the STEP Prize in Wills, the Amy and Brian Pfefferle Prize, The Honourable Donald Alexander McNiven Prize in Law, and the Thomas Dowrick Brown Prize (Most Distinguished Graduate). Kennedy, meanwhile, received the Peg and Keith Memorial Award for Indigenous Students and the Ron Fritz Prize in Law.

The sisters said they are grateful for their time at USask, and they want to thank the generous donors and sponsors who have supported them, and other USask students, through scholarships, bursaries, and awards.

“We’ve been really fortunate to benefit and have the privilege of receiving scholarships and bursaries from many generous donors,” said Caydence.

With five children in the twin’s family, including two brothers who are currently studying at USask and at the University of Regina, “there is no way that putting two sisters through law school at the same time could have happened without that support,” she added.

Kennedy said receiving the scholarships, bursaries, and awards made it possible for her and her sister to study at USask without financial worries, which has ultimately benefited their entire family in a profound way.

“When we receive awards, our family motto is ‘a win for one is a win for all,’” said Kennedy.

While the sisters are now looking forward to the next chapters of their lives and careers, leaving USask is bittersweet. They will miss seeing their law school friends each day, who have become like family members to them.

The sisters will remember their undergraduate studies as “an incredibly fun and fulfilling five years,” Caydence said, and they plan to return to USask again in the future.

“I’m quite sad about it, that the undergraduate portion of university is done. We definitely have plans to come back and do a master’s or something of the sort.”

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