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STEPHEN HEMELT — PNG grads Stephanie Barron, Britney Brevell talk medical school goals 

It was a pleasure this week speaking with recent Port Neches-Groves High School graduates Stephanie Barron and Britney Brevell.

The all-stars are preparing to begin their college careers at Lamar University, each focusing on biology major, pre-medical school tracts.

That’s a significant time and financial commitment, but these young scholars are aided by hefty honors — Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo scholarships valued at $20,000 apiece.

The awards were publicly announced this week through a Jefferson County Go Texan Committee virtual Facebook event and press release. In reality, Barron and Brevell have known for weeks about their good fortunes that followed years of hard work inside and outside local classrooms.

Stephanie Barron, senior at Port Neches-Groves High School, takes a bite of pizza outside Neches Federal Credit Union at the high school in September. 

The moments of first news are likely memories that will last their lifetimes.

“My mom was sitting on the couch and checking her email while I was doing some homework,” Brevell said. “She called me over. I saw I had got the scholarship, then saw how much it was and just freaked out. I was so excited. It was such a huge honor. It’s pretty awesome knowing I was picked to get that much money.”

Barron also remembers how surprised she was when she heard the news, adding she initially thought the scholarship award would be for $1,000.

When it ended up being 20 times that amount, she wasn’t the only person in disbelief.

“The first person I told was my mom,” Barron said. “She was excited. She said, ‘how much?’ and I said ‘$20,000.’ She didn’t believe me; I had to show her the email.”

During our conversations this week, Barron and Brevell told similar stories of hard work.

There was a commitment to sports, academics and too many PNG clubs to count.

It’s obvious these young women are blessed with internal desires to succeed, but they have also been lucky to follow in the footsteps of some tremendous role models, specifically strong and accomplished professional women.

Barron said she is most inspired by her mom.

“She lived in Mexico for a long time and was a nurse there,” she said. “We came over here and she is a welder now. It was a big jump.”

Brevell’s mother and sister have biology degrees and she has always been interested in biology.

“My grandma was a nurse and always told us stories I thought were cool,” she said. “I want to be able to help people and I love the study of life.”

Their passions for education are evident. It certainly helps for what is to come.

Each was very complimentary of Port Neches-Groves High School and the sense of family fostered by all school community members.

Barron is going to miss the school spirit the most, adding her numerous activity commitments kept her on campus a lot.

Brevell said PNG has so many traditions.

“Everything we do has a meaning behind it and I think I am going to miss that sense of community and traditions that we all act in together,” she said.

“During high school staying involved is the key to being set for college. I tried to help out around the school as much as I could. At PNG we have this thing called TRIBE, where we prepare for freshman orientation and I am very involved with that. I played sports and was in honor society.”

Both teenagers are years away from medical school applications and deciding on a career path, but they have eyes on the future.

Barron is thinking about radiology and is eager to shadow professionals during the summers to get a better feeling of what she likes. She is open to all possibilities.

Brevell has considered pediatrics and OBGYN routes but has heard on the journey to medical school “it changes a million times” so “I guess we’ll see if that changes.”

Each has wonderful opportunities ahead of them, earned through hard work and accomplishment.

They are examples of what to look forward to in the next generation.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at stephen.hemelt@panews.com or 409-721-2445.