Superintendent’s Spotlight: Julianna Browning


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Julianna Browning

May 13, 2022

Last summer, WVMS Principal Ms. Georgianna Diopoulos encouraged seventh grader Julianna Browning to join SYLA – the Summer Youth Leadership Academy. She knew the outgoing, academic star (every marking period on High Honor Roll this year) would enjoy the 2-week program, which teaches area middle school students a team approach to leadership through daily interactions with community leaders. The program emphasizes collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, and Julianna said she loved the experience.

“SYLA made me a lot of connections in the community, and it’s also how I got to be on the Youth Advisory Board at Warwick Valley Community Center,” said Julianna. “We work very closely with the Warwick Prevention Coalition, too, and this spring I did a livestream event with them.”

The livestream was about the use of drugs and marijuana and, following the event, Julianna directed gathered questions from participants to the expert panel. Julianna said she enjoys the community service projects and events she’s been able to take part in through these groups. In May she will be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society, and is excited for the service opportunities that will present.

Julianna’s favorite class is art class, and she also enjoys ELA, and French.

“I’m good at drawing, so art is an easy A for me. Kind of like a cheat code,” Julianna said with a laugh. “And, Mr. J is an exceptional teacher, therefore I like French class!”

In ELA and on her own, Julianna loves writing. She and her friends write what they call “Spoofs,” group writing projects they do for fun, and while most of her serious writing is done for school, she loves making up stories of her own, even if they don’t always get put down on paper. She credits her love of reading for her writing talents.

“I think I’m good at writing, because I just think about what I’ve read,” Julianna said. “I have multiple favorite authors: Rick Riordan, who wrote Percy Jackson; Jennifer Nielsen, who wrote The Ascendance series; I’m a huge fan of The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – awesome book, very sad, but good. It’s like a rewrite of The Iliad.”

Julianna said she loves how characters develop in the books she reads, and has a keen interest in character design. She began drawing when she was young, after a book entitled How to Draw Anime caught her eye during a trip to Michael’s with her mom. She eventually moved on from the popular Japanese style known for its disproportionate characters, and taught herself how to draw more realistically. Working in traditional and digital media, she combines her writing and illustration skills to create her own characters and develop their unique backstories.

Julianna sings in the WVMS chorus and honors chorus, and also does dance, takes independent art classes, and sings in a band at Pura Vida in Warwick. She has been playing piano since she was five years old.

“My new [piano] teacher is teaching me different techniques, chord progressions, and the actual theory of it,” said Julianna. “I’m excited for that because I’ve been learning something new. I’ve been singing since I was little, and I’ve taken chorus every year it’s been available.”

Julianna is also part of numerous clubs, including Dumbledore’s Army and the WVMS Literary Magazine, both of which reflect her interest in writing. She is also active in the Stocks Club.

“I joined because my dad tried to explain stocks to me, and I didn’t get it. I was terrible at it,” she said. “I knew I’d have to understand it, to some extent, to be a successful adult, so I decided to join to learn more.”

Next year, Julianna plans to take some honors courses. She’s just trying to decide how many.

“I could do all honors,” she said, adding that honors math, honors English, and honors science are all on the table. “I don’t know if I necessarily want to do that. It would be a big challenge.”

She said she’s going to give it more thought over the summer. Other than that, Julianna’s sights seem to be set even farther ahead.

“I’m worrying about high school in seventh grade,” she said with a smile. “Yeah, I have a bad habit of worrying about the future a long time before it actually happens. I’ve been worried about college since the fifth grade.”

Principal Diopoulos said, “Julianna has been a standout to me from the time she was a fifth grader. She writes like a seasoned professional, and she is mature beyond her years. She earned herself a spot as the youngest person in SYLA last summer, and she is just a great young lady!”


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