Deanna Branker: Senior Spotlight Interview


Deanna Branker, Senior at John F. Kennedy Memorial Highschool

Deanna Branker is a senior at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School. She is an avid member of the Varsity Cheer Team, American Cancer Society, Key Club and JFK Stars: a club that is a dedicated safe space for all and spreads tolerance, respect, and awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, before Covid, Deanna helped the JFK Stars fundraise through coffee houses for school wide events.

When asked how she grew throughout her high school career, Deanna explained how in her freshman year, “I was anxious and I didn’t know what was going on, and I didn’t know if I could handle the coursework…but right now I’m more stable and I’m more confident in my classwork, my study habits; I guess I’ve matured.” Her favorite year of high school was junior year, “which is weird because everyone says junior year is… your most stressful year, but junior year for me was one of the best.”

“Grade-wise [junior year, I] was top-tier,” Deanna stated, “For cheer, I started on JV and ended up on Varsity, and I did competition cheer and had a whole family from that…I made further relationships with people that I didn’t think I would before, and it was overall a fun year.” 

Her advice to incoming freshmen and underclassmen in general is to join clubs.

“I think by joining a club or joining a sport—at least one—you could really get a family from it,” Deanna stated, “I feel like that’s cliché to say, but honestly if I hadn’t joined cheer freshman year, I would’ve never formed the friendships that I did on that team, and it was those friendships that kept me grounded and encouraged me and supported me throughout the rest of my four years.”

Another tip for underclassmen from Deanna is “‘Do not procrastinate!’ It’s something that I did, but I’ve worked towards [procrastinating less]—and I don’t procrastinate that much anymore—but that’s definitely the standard advice.”

Deanna’s plans for the future are still in the works. She plans on going to “whichever four-year university will have me,” majoring in psychology with a minor in political science.

“The political science part was a new plan of mine because of Mrs. Jones’s AP [Government and Politics] class,” Deanna explained, “I really enjoy that AP Gov class and everything we learn there, so I wanted to pursue that further, but pursuing psychology has always been something that I wanted to do since freshman year.”

Post-grad, Deanna wants to pursue a doctorate degree in the psychology field.

The staff of the Torch wish Deanna the best of luck in her endeavors after high school!