KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Brannae’ Browne would have been graduating from high school this year.
But she died in a drive-by shooting on Sept. 2, 2016.
Before her death, she made a lasting impact on her teachers — so much that they wanted to do something to carry on her name.
“She was just a star,” said Jamaica Daniels, one of Browne’s middle school teachers.
Daniels and Amber Buck, who taught Browne in ninth grade, care about all their students, but they both said that the 15-year-old shined the most.
They are starting a scholarship in Browne’s name out of their own pockets so that someone else can realize the dream she was denied: becoming a dentist.
“I first met Brannae’ through Jamaica, and she was an amazing girl. And for her life to be cut short and so tragically, we just didn’t want people to forget about her,” Buck said.
Buck remembers how goal-oriented and driven Browne was.
“She let you know exactly what she was going to do, who she was, and what she was and was not going to take from people. It was always about giving and getting respect, about making her voice heard, about serving and helping others,” Buck said. “Even as a ninth grader, she knew what she was about.”
Daniels said she had a great friendship with Browne, who even helped her plan her wedding.
“It means a whole lot. Brannae’ was a great student, made great grades. Was a pleasure to have in class,” Daniels said.
Browne’s mom, Shanta’ Barnett, said she feels proud to be her mother.
“I feel honored that someone actually cared about my baby. I feel really honored and I feel like I did a good job raising her for them to even want to do that for her,” Barnett said.
Currently Buck and Daniels have raised $200, which can help with a dentistry book or a couple of class credits. They are gladly accepting donations and are looking for a dentist office to sponsor.
When Browne was killed, she had just started her sophomore year at J.C. Harmon High School.
Barnett said her daughter knew she wanted to be a dentist since she was in seventh grade. For some reason, she always loved going to the dentist.
“When she got to the 10th (grade), she was preparing to start applying for colleges and scholarships to try and see where she could go to be a dentist,” Barnett said.
Barnett said her daughter wanted everyone around her to succeed.
“It’s a great way to symbolize. Even though in the horrible time of losing my child, now somebody else’s child will be able to benefit through her name. I really like that,” Barnett said.
To apply for the Brannae' Browne Memorial Scholarship, applicants should meet the following criteria:
-Be Kansas City, Kansas high school student
-Be a graduating senior in 2019
-Be interested in dentistry and/or accepted into a dentistry program
-Submit a high school transcript (minimum 2.5 GPA)
-Write a 250-word essay that answers, “Why are you interested in dentistry and what do you hope to accomplish in the industry?”
The deadline to apply is Dec. 20.
Applicants should email their name, the name of their high school, their essay and transcript to BrannaeScholarship@gmail.com . Questions can also be emailed to that address.