Her task that morning during class at Coastal Bend College was a simple one. She was learning to attach wires onto a circuit board.
But there was something about her that was different from the other students.
She is 12 years old—much younger than the other students in the college class.
Breanna was accepted into the college at only 11 years old, but has since had a birthday.
Her mother, Brenda, said that the decision to enroll was left up to Breanna.
“It is a good opportunity to learn new stuff and have it in the palm of my hand,” Breanna said.
The idea of tackling circuitry was an easy decision.
“I have been making cardboard robots since I was very little,” she said. “This is the technology of tomorrow.
“This is like what tomorrow will be based upon.”
This is Breanna’s fourth week at the college, and she is loving the work.
Sylvia Garcia-Smih, who was watching over the youths as they worked, instructing and offering advice, took a little extra time with Breanna.
“How are you doing?” Sylvia said as looked over Breanna’s shoulder. “That is looking awesome.
“Now you are going to want to put a wire in there.”
Brenda beams when she talks of Breanna.
“I knew she was smart, but I never thought at age 12 she would be in college,” Brenda said.
It was Breanna’s idea to enroll in college, and Brenda admits she was hesitant at first.
“She told me, ‘Mom, look, maybe I can pass from cardboard robots to real robots.’
“She loves to create robots. She makes the plans and everything.”
She reluctantly agreed to allow her daughter to take the admission exam.
“For me, it was to see what level Breanna was at,” she said.
“For me, it was to know if I was doing a good job.
“She is my only child. I didn’t have anybody to compare.”
She is part of the local home schooling group which she praised for their help.
Eventually, Breanna wants to use her knowledge of robotics to help those inflicted with cancer.
“I would like to make nanobots to cure cancer and get rid of the evil illness,” she said.
This longing to help the sick and injured comes naturally, as her father and Brenda’s husband, Dr. Vincente Sanchez, has a medical practice in Beeville.
Breanna might sound like she is all work and no play.
Sure, she learned to read at 3 years old. She learned to read Spanish also, which still baffles her mother because she never taught her that one. It is worth noting here that the Sanchez family only came to the States in 1999 from Puerto Rico.
Breanna is much like any other youngster—or college student for that matter—and enjoys some of the same hobbies.
“I don’t know much about cameras, but I enjoy shooting photos,” she says. She plays video games also—the classics like Mario Brothers.
She is teaching herself piano but taking lessons for ukulele and harmonica.
Brenda said that she has never forced her daughter into any of these pursuits.
“I don’t want to be that mom that pushes her,” Brenda said. “Everybody needs to push their kids to do better but not to the limit.
“The only thing I am doing for her is facilitating and guiding her.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.