Being homeschooled since kindergarten, Brianna has never known what it is like to have a traditional schooling experience. However, that has not stopped her from being involved in a multitude of typical high school activities and experiences. “My siblings and I have all been homeschooled,” said Brianna. “My parents had friends in the City who chose to homeschool their kids, and my parents thought it would be something worth trying.”
Brianna did have a moment of desire to transition into a public high school for her freshman year, but she changed her mind. “I get overwhelmed with those multitudes of people, and that would have been too much for me,” said Brianna. “I like that homeschool is more flexible, and I’m able to learn at my own pace and really understand it while not feeling so overwhelmed. At home I’m not working under stress; I’m working under my understanding.” When it comes to the basic core requirements, Brianna has to take math, English, and history. However, her electives can be whatever interests her the most, which makes for a much more enriching experience.
As a part of her homeschool experience, Brianna is a part of the ECC Explorers group, which puts on social activities for homeschool kids to have a chance to get together and socialize during things like pizza night or movie night. “It helps us to all have a chance to interact with each other so that we aren’t always by ourselves and antisocial.” In addition to her homeschool classes, Brianna attends Los Medanos College Tuesday-Thursday for certain classes. This semester she is taking Spanish and English. “I can feel overwhelmed sometimes with my college courses because they move so fast and you have to keep up,” said Brianna. “At home I’m able to learn the material until I truly understand it.”
ECC Explorers constantly has activities going on for all grades and ages, but last August they offered something that peaked Brianna’s interest. When they asked around to see if any of the teens wanted to be on a Prom Committee to help throw a prom for the homeschoolers, Brianna jumped at the chance. “I’ve always wanted to be part of a prom group and have the ideas for it, plan everything out, and set it all up,” said Brianna. “I love planning things. I used to plan tea parties and other activities when I was younger, so I was just drawn to the opportunity.”
For a good portion of her time on the committee, Brianna was the only girl. While some girls may be intimidated by that fact, Brianna enjoyed being the one to come up with the ideas and having the guys agree with her. “Brianna has been the biggest help in planning, and her ideas have been what’s shaped the prom. She has been there every week, with the boys, despite her busy schedule. She is an impressive young lady,” said Cassie Minihan, one of the parents helping with the prom planning. The chosen prom theme is Vintage Circus. “We designed centerpieces which were popcorn buckets with yellow flowers coming out to look like popcorn,” said Brianna. “We also created silhouettes of trapeze artists and had a photo booth.” The prom was held at Campos Family Vineyards. “I would definitely do this again next year.”
As if Brianna isn’t busy enough with her school commitments, she is also involved with the Brentwood Teen Theater, originally joining in 2015. “I’ve always loved theater. I love singing a lot.” Brianna was involved with other groups in the past, but none of them were stable companies. So, when she found out about Brentwood Teen Theater, she jumped on board. “I love being on stage and that energy that comes with it,” said Brianna. “My favorite play that I’ve done with them is probably the most recent one, which was Guys and Dolls.” The group has already begun working on their next performance, which will be Beauty and the Beast, but Brianna will not be able to participate due to the prom. However, she will be auditioning for a theater company in the Walnut Creek area called STARS 2000 and their rendition of Legally Blonde. “Their play runs through the entire summer,” said Brianna. “I have to be prepared with 32 measures of a song and prepared to dance.” Brianna has been honing her skills with vocal lessons, originally with Steve Kinsella and now with Nuhad Levasseur who helped her to participate in the Tribute to Hamilton show.
When school and theater obligations aren’t on the schedule, Brianna can be found hanging out with her friends at Grace Bible Fellowship’s youth group or taking kickboxing and Krav Maga classes at Max Martial Arts. “It’s really fun. We have stress drills where we pile together everything that we learned in class, and a bunch of people come at you at once so you have to apply the self-defense techniques.” As for her academic future, Brianna is unsure. She has shown interest in William Jessup University for their outstanding music program, as well as Grand Canyon University, but she isn’t entirely sure what she wants to do. So, in the meantime, she plans on attending a junior college while she figures it out. “I know I would ultimately like to do something in the realm of music.”