My name is Joanna Mills. I am a 21 year old theatre major/dance minor at Saint Mary’s University. I am originally from a rural town in western Illinois called New Boston. I have a wonderful mother, an amazing father, and a handsome baby brother who has towered over me since he was 15 (he’s now 18). I have lived on my family’s agricultural farm my entire life. We raise corn and soybeans and have a fairly large amount of land that we own or work for other land owners.
I went to a small, private elementary school called Faith Academy across the river in Muscatine, Iowa. My mother works over there as a computer systems analyst, so we would often ride to work with her in the morning and simply wait for school to start at the babysitter’s or a fellow classmate’s. Faith Academy was a very small school that got smaller the longer it was around it seemed like. I went from having a class of about 20 in kindergarten to a class of 3 in fifth grade. Unfortunately, Faith Academy’s numbers became so low, that it shut down after my sixth grade year.
After fifth grade, I decided that I wanted to try and go to public school. So, I started my sixth grade year getting on a yellow school bus for the first time in my life (an hour long commute btw!) and going to public school. The public school (Westmer Secondary School) was the same high school that my dad had attended and the same building that my grandpa had attended. I even had some of the same teachers that had had my dad!! These included my junior high math teacher, history teacher, p.e. teacher, and one of my junior high english teachers, and they all deffinitely remembered him. I started sixth grade with a class of about 60 students (we were a very big class!). At the end of my senior year, I graduated as Valedictorian of my class of 27 students.
I did a lot of stuff in high school. I was in band, choir, basketball, track and field, volleyball for a summer, scholastic bowl, flag squad captain, swing choir, art exhibits…in a small school, its very easy to be involved in just about everything. However, the thing I always enjoyed the most was the musical we put on with the neighboring high school every fall. Those were the best times I had! When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, my dad told me that I should do something I was passionate about; something I would enjoy getting up every day to do. At the time, the only thing I could see that I enjoyed going to every single night was the rehearsals for the musicals. So, I decided that I wanted to be an actress!