Bangs valedictorian, salutatorian already making strides toward long-term goals


BANGS— Bangs High School valedictorian Joshua Browning and salutatorian Tomi Catlin seem bound for much different career paths, but have a similar motivation for what put them on that path.

Browning plans to briefly study at Texas Tech University, and then the University of Texas at Austin, to pursue a career as a physicians assistant while Catlin plans to immediately enter the Air Force, but both credit BHS teachers and councilors for constantly encouraging them to pursue their goals.

“Mrs. (Billie) Harvey, my theater teacher, she was my best friend and pushed me for years,” Browning said. “Linda Lawrence, she retired but she was my anatomy teacher and she was the best. She inspired me with science and her classes were so intuitive and, of course, Mrs. (Jenny) Patrick our councilor. She is just great. She changed the face of our school for sure.”

Browning, who finished high school with a 4.0 grade point average, feels growing up in a small town was a wonderful experience but it’s time to move on.

“I’m nervous. I’m more excited to get out. It’s great with everyone knowing everyone, but at times it can feel a little constricting in a lot of different ways. I am excited for a fresh start … I’m excited to get cultured shocked. This has been a wonderful upbringing and I am so thankful for it, but it’s time for something else and I am ready to just jump in.”

Joshua Browning is son of Ralph and Mindy Browning. While at BHS, Browning participated in one act play, where he received best actor at the 2018 regional contest, UIL poetry state competitor and National Honor Society. After graduating, Browning will attend Texas Tech University, where he will study biology and eventually transfer to the University of Texas to pursue his masters in the hopes of one day being a physician’s assistant.

“My mom has worked in a dental office all of her life the same one since we moved here … I’ve always been surrounded by the medical field and it has always been something I loved. I started observing at different doctors offices in different places and figured out that is what I want to do.”

Catlin is the daughter of Don and Jennifer Catlin. While at BHS, she participated in National Honor Society, competed in UIL spelling and social studies events and will graduate with a 4.0 GPA. Instead of waiting until August to begin her career path, Catlin will ship out to basic training July 9.

“I’ve already sworn in and I will be leaving July 9,” Catlin said. “I’m going straight into the Air Force. I will get some college credits through their community college, but I’m going in to start a job. I’m going in to start in munitions systems … I thought about the military before and thought I could … They checked me out and said I was good to go.

With the military offering a more structured environment, she believes it will ease the culture change of moving from a town with a population a little more than 1,500.

“It’s going to be a big shock for me,” She said. I’m excited, but not as excited as I should be about the culture change. It should help things because it will feel like there is structure to everything we do and not so random as if I were going to Lubbock or Austin.”