Salutatorian finds inspiration, motivation in mother

Two years ago, Mariah Brown learned that her mother would be fighting a second battle with breast cancer.

The news was a huge blow to her and her family. But helping her mother through that battle, which she ultimately won, also had a lifelong impact on the Edinburgh teenager.

After helping care for her mom through her struggle, she decided she wanted to become a nurse. And she learned a valuable lesson from her mother’s strength and perseverance.

“My mom is my role model,” Brown said.

“Her overcoming cancer twice proved to me that I can overcome the simple things. The challenges I encounter in school are nothing compared to what other people are going through.”

Brown had always been a strong student who would strive for high grades. She applied her even more determined mindset to her studies, and it paid off. This school year, she finished with a 3.98 GPA and was named salutatorian of her graduating class at Edinburgh Community High School.

She is a naturally positive person, but reaching her goal has provided an extra boon to her self-confidence.

“It just proves that I can do anything if I put my mind to it,” she said.

She already has taken steps toward her career goal. This year she took AP Biology and certified nursing assistant, or CNA, classes through the Columbus Area Career Connection. After lots of studying, she passed the CNA certification exam.

“Passing my CNA exam was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “But I did it.”

At first, she considered using her certification to get a job in home health care this summer but chose to stick with her usual summer job of caring for children at the Edinburgh Youth Club.

“I’ve always loved taking care of children, whether I’m working at the Youth Club or baby-sitting,” she said. “My dream job is to one day work in the neonatal intensive care unit at Riley Children’s Hospital.”

Brown will attend the University of Indianapolis this fall as a nursing major.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m ready to get started on my career.”

Mariah Brown

Name: Mariah Brown

Age: 18

Parents: Torrie Brown and Andy Brown

GPA: 3.98

College: University of Indianapolis

Major: Nursing

Dream career: To work in the neonatal intensive care unit at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health