Browning said she sometimes has to encourage her younger brother, now in middle school, to stay focused on the future. She's loved school since she was a child.
"I know that that's the only way I'm going to get anywhere in life," Browning said. "And I want my kids to be able to have the good life that my parents have allowed me to have."
Browning has foresight. She's a goal-oriented person, and she works that to her advantage. She recently achieved her goal of increasing her ACT score enough to be eligible for the Murray State University presidential scholarship. She plans to attend MSU in the fall to study accounting.
JoAnna Browning, daughter of Jason and Bridget Browning, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees that high school guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submit to the Sun. Mid-Continent University will provide each Teen of the Week with a $2,500 annual scholarship to its university, which is renewable for four years. In the spring, a Teen of the Year will be chosen from the weekly winners and will receive a full four-year scholarship to Mid-Continent University, currently valued at up to $55,000, or a cash reward of $2,500 paid through the Paducah Sun if the student selects another college to attend.
She hasn't settled on book smarts, either. Browning just finished her last season on the volleyball team. Though she misses playing, Browning said she does look forward to a more restful senior year.
Browning also plays first chair flute in the concert band. Listening to music is an easy way to brighten Browning's day. Being able to be a part in making that music carries the sentiment to a whole new level.
Last summer, Browning participated in the Governor's Scholars Program on Bellarmine's campus in Louisville. She said it was one of the best experiences in her life, especially her focus group. She chose to study international affairs during the five-week program, and she said she didn't know what to expect. As part of their studies, her focus group worked with people who speak English as a second language.
"I have found this new appreciation that I'm blessed to live here," Browning said. "I've learned, one man I talked to is from China. He has been completely separated from his family for several years. That makes me appreciate my family even more."
Browning's teachers describe her as optimistic in her patriotism. She said she's unhappy with the way things are going. Though she doesn't have a specific solution, she hopes to see more compromise across the board for a stronger future. Browning participates in the young politicians club at CCA, but said she's unsure if she would ever want to run for elected office.
After she finishes her degree, Browning wants to work at a larger accounting firm for a few years. She ultimately hopes to open her own firm so she can set her own hours, thus allowing her to spend enough time with her future family.