A 17-year-old Adair County High School student was recently selected into one of the state’s oldest and most prestigious summer programs. Briley Burns, currently wrapping up her junior year at ACHS, was chosen for this summer’s Governor’s Scholars Program following a rigorous and highly competitive application process.
For five weeks this summer, Burns will stay on campus at one of three locations — Centre College, Bellarmine University, or Morehead State — with some of the Commonwealth’s brightest rising high school seniors. Once on location, she’ll receive a fully immersive college experience, staying in dorms and studying a field of emphasis of her choosing. Upon completion, she’ll be eligible for scholarships at schools across the state.
“I’m most excited to get the experience of getting to live on a college campus,” Burns says. “I’m looking forward to being around new people and learning new things and kind of having a college experience before I actually go off to college. I’m outgoing, but I’m not great at talking to people I don’t know, so it’ll be a good opportunity for me to get out of my shell.”
ACHS counselor Ann Young says the criteria for acceptance into the program includes grade point average, test scores, extracurricular activities, an essay, and two recommendation letters — one from a teacher and another from someone in her community.
“It’s a very competitive program to get accepted into,” Young explains. “We’re really proud that she gets to go and excited for the experience for her. We haven’t found out yet which campus she’ll be selected to or what dates she’ll be attending, so we’re still waiting on that information.”
Burns says she put a lot of work into the application process.
“It was pretty lengthy,” she says. “You have to fill out all your personal info and stuff, then your extracurriculars, community service, honors and awards, and you have to write a paragraph about each thing. I think I ended up writing about 30 to 35 paragraphs, plus the 500-word essay.”
With a resume’ including a stellar GPA and a verifiable alphabet soup of other activities — Beta, NHS, HOSA, KUNA, 4H, and Y Club, not to mention singing in her church — it’s little wonder Burns was selected for the program. She’s also a standout athlete, playing high school volleyball since sixth grade and starting varsity since eighth grade.
A lifelong Columbia resident and the daughter of Miranda and Randy Burns, Briley has big plans for her future.
“I plan to go to PT school and be a pediatric physical therapist,” Burns says. “Right now, I’m deciding between the University of Kentucky and Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Then for PT school I want to go to UK or Western Kentucky.”
There’s little reason to doubt Burns will one day reach these lofty goals, but right now, she’s only looking forward to this summer.
“I’m just really thankful for this opportunity and for all the people who have helped me get here,” she says.