Brianna Bradford plays point guard for Reservoir High. Last season, she became the first 1,000-point scorer in school history, as she averaged 16 points. This year, she might set a record for extracurricular activities.
Besides being a member of the National Honor Society, the National Spanish Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars, she is a member of Reservoir's Senior Board; MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement), in which she's helping to build a model electric-powered cargo plane; the Howard County Youth Summit; Howard County Connections; and on the board of the American Heart Association.
She also has an art project that requires 24 pieces, including 12 with a theme, and she has an internship at the Fulton Animal Shelter. She hopes to become a veterinarian.
Her weighted grade-point average is 4.6 and made her very appealing to Ivy League schools. She has committed to the University of Pennsylvania and its basketball program.
"The vet school there and their graduate school program just struck me," Bradford said. "I thought, 'Oh, my goodness, all the opportunities that are there could be really valuable experience for me.' But also Philadelphia is an amazing city. It's bustling. It's awesome. I love it up there, and you can't really complain about an Ivy League education."
How do you pack it all into 24 hours?
I've definitely learned when to say, "no." There have been a lot of times when a special project has come up, and I've been asked to take part, but I say, "no." If anything conflicts with a test or schoolwork, I'm not going to participate. School is No. 1.
Why are you in all of these activities?
Well, I have so many different interests, and I just want to help anywhere I can. I've just gotten more and more involved in the community, and I really enjoy what I do. I don't want to give anything up.
Is your mom an active volunteer? Or your dad? Where do you get all this volunteerism?
Well, my mom was a diarist for Howard County Connections before, and she asked me and my sister to come to one of the meetings, and I guess it just stuck because I've been there ever since eighth grade.
What can a teenager at Reservoir do on the Heart Association board?
Well, one thing I do a lot is whenever they have fundraising events I gather volunteers from our National Honor Society because we need volunteer hours. So I've gotten large groups together when we have the heart walks to come and help set up or break things down. And some actually walk, and I'm going to see if I can do that with the Heart Ball in the spring.
And I can also give input on teenagers on what they think or know about heart disease.
How did you get interested in that?
It wasn't from family. A couple of my friends in independent research during my sophomore year did projects on school food and food in general and obesity in Howard County and in the United States and how it causes heart disease and can cause death, and it can start at an early age. I guess that really had an impact on me, and I thought the Heart Association would be a good fit for doing something about it.
Is basketball your escape, maybe, from all these serious commitments?
Yes and no. Basketball is another commitment that I have. I'm very committed to it, and I'm definitely looking to continuing playing next year. And it is a fun sport. And when I'm playing, I am able to forget about everything else. I guess it is kind of a relief.
Have you always played basketball?
Yes. Both of my older brothers, six and seven years older than me, played. And I went to all of their games, just like my younger sister comes to some of my games now. And then once the younger one of the two, Jared, [finished his high school career], I remember thinking: 'Great! It's my turn. There's time for me now.' And ever since then, I've been playing organized basketball. That's when I was about 7 or 8.
Have you always been a guard?
Yes. I'm too tiny to be anything else at 5 feet 4. But I am fast. I have to be.
What kind of team do you have this season?
We are still looking to contend for the county title. We lost to two very important people last year, but we're still a fast-break team. ... But, the same as last year, we're still working on defense. ... You have to be able to stop somebody.
Tell me more about how you became involved with MESA and your cargo plane project?
I've been in MESA since seventh grade, and ever since then I've been working with planes. In seventh grade, we had to make paper airplanes, and then it changed to where you had to make a plane out of balsa wood. And when I got to high school, you had to make a structure that has to fly around a house.
Why did you decide you wanted to be a vet and not an engineer?
Well, since I was 8, I've had a passion for animals and wanting to help them. And my favorite subject is probably biology. And I think the main difference between a vet and possibly an engineer is it's more science than math. I'm leaning more toward the science than the math.z
You have so much going on; do you set goals for the year?
Yes. I do: ... To keep my grades up and keep learning as much as I can because even though it is senior year I'm still taking rigorous courses.