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■ Savannah Cole

Grade: Senior.

Age: 17.

Art focus: Brainerd High School Chamber Orchestra.

Adviser nomination: “Savannah is the principal viola in the Chamber Orchestra, has been in All Conference Honors Orchestra for four years, member of violin and viola section for five years, teacher of violin and viola students in the Learn to Play in the orchestra program.”

Artist most admired: Rebecca Yeh, a 2011 Brainerd High School graduate. “She’s an amazing violinist. I look up to her so much.”

Memorable fine arts achievement: “Making it into Chamber Orchestra within a 1 1/2 years of playing the violin. I’ve been in Chamber Orchestra since eighth grade.”

Why the viola: “I played the violin for four years in orchestra and this year I switched to viola. Grant (Wilcox, the orchestra director) needed someone to play the viola so I did. There are some differences between the violin and the viola, they have different clefs.”

What are the challenges of playing the viola: “The violas are the middle part of the orchestra and we have to play the harmony. Each of the other sections have their own parts and we have to find our own way.”

Do you still play both: “I practice each of them for a half hour each day. I teach students how to play the violin so I still play the violin regularly. I like to play both, but I prefer the violin because it has a better tone.”

Proudest piece: “A violin piece by Mendelssohn.”

Other fine art activities: A Capella Choir.

Dream job: “I want to be a pharmacist. I plan to attend the University of Minnesota, Duluth.”

Favorite movie: “The Secret Window.”

Best reality TV show: “Big Rich Texas.”

Favorite book: “Pretty Little Liars.”

Community activities: In 4-H, figure skating and the Miss America Pageant. Cole was the 2012 Miss Baxter’s Outstanding Teen and she will compete in Miss Minnesota in June. Cole said her platform is epilepsy.

“I have a 7-year-old friend who has epilepsy and she has changed my life. She has a bubbly personality even with her epilepsy and she keeps going.”

Parents: Rick and Deb Cole of Brainerd.

Honorable mention: Yuki Hirai, sophomore, mock trial: “Yuki is in his second year as a lawyer for the mock trial team. He received excelled scores in our third competition and gave a compelling closing argument. Yuki is hardworking, focused, motivated and a vital key to Mock Trial’s success this year.”

— Compiled by Jennifer Stockinger, Staff Writer. Follow me on Twitter at

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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