Briana Gilyard is a senior at Summit High School, who has traveled through the Summit Public Schools attending Jefferson Elementary School and Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School.
Briana is very involved at Summit High School. She is one of the captains of the Cheerleading team and has been on varsity all four years. She first got excited about participating in cheerleading from her older sister who was part of the team. In addition to supporting her peers and the football team, this year she was excited to be part of a 3-day Cheer Camp experience. "We worked very hard this season, spending time conditioning, building endurance, and gaining strength," said Briana. Coach Fogarty helped her to increase her self-confidence as well. During practices, the coach had the team watch and critique film of their routines, with the goal of not beating others, but improving themselves as a team.
Beyond athletics, Briana is interested in music. She is part of Jazz Band and sings lead vocals. The group practices in the evenings and a highlight of the year is performing at the annual Big Band Dance! They also tour the elementary schools to give younger students a glimpse into the music program offerings throughout the district.
Briana has been part of the SHS theatre program for the past four years. She began as a freshman as part of the props crew for Mary Poppins. Gaining confidence, she joined the ensemble in How to Succeed In Business Without Even Trying. She had a supporting role in Legally Blonde as a junior, and in 2019 won a lead role in the production of Pippin.
School has afforded Briana many opportunities. She was a Stokes counselor for two years and participates in the Music club. She helps with "Note", the music club and they collaborate with "Word" to host the open mic performances. She enjoys math, and one of her favorite classes is AP Music Theory. She welcomed the challenging class and felt it opened her eyes about music, especially helping her with her piano playing. She has been playing both piano and violin since childhood.
Briana shared that one of many memorable moments of her high school experience was when she and her peers went to record in Studio B in Nashville. "It was amazing to be there, making music with close friends, and recording where such accomplished people have!" To capitalize on this important time in her life, Briana recalls helpful advice she was given, by a senior student, when she was just a freshman. "Follow your dreams, work hard, and follow your passion." She carried that advice with her throughout Summit High School. And to that she adds, "Do not let people bring you down or deter you from what you want to do. In the end, it is your life."
Following graduation, Briana plans to attend college to study the music industry. She hopes one day to be working alongside accomplished artists in the industry. She is inspired by people who are hard workers and who are passionate about what they do. She strives to always move forward by setting goals and working towards them. She shared, "I always focus on the future, and how to make it better. That is what motivates me." With that drive and focus, we know her bright light will continue to shine!