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BHS honors its 'Senior Spotlight' students

They are Brainerd High School's future artists, musicians, designers, writers, actors, debaters and programmers--who had their moment in the spotlight Monday, May 6, to be recognized for their fine arts achievements.

Mothers of Brainerd High School seniors Ginny Knudson (left) and Cynthia Ostlund (right), Monday look through students' artist books during the annual Fine Arts and Activities Banquet in the BHS cafeteria, as Ostlund's daughter Miranda Ostlund (center) observes. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch
Mothers of Brainerd High School seniors Ginny Knudson (left) and Cynthia Ostlund (right), Monday look through students' artist books during the annual Fine Arts and Activities Banquet in the BHS cafeteria, as Ostlund's daughter Miranda Ostlund (center) observes. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch

They are Brainerd High School's future artists, musicians, designers, writers, actors, debaters and programmers-who had their moment in the spotlight Monday, May 6, to be recognized for their fine arts achievements.

BHS hosted its annual Fine Arts and Activities Banquet in the cafeteria, where it recognized 65 high school seniors, one by one, and their awards in front of their family, friends and fine arts school staff. The high school has about 150 seniors who received the "Senior Spotlight" recognition this year, but not all the students were able to attend.

These students took part in one or more of the fine arts programs, including choir, band, orchestra, Brainonian yearbook, speech, debate, mock trial, theater, visual arts, TV productions and creative writing. Within each program there are a number of offerings students can participate in, such as painting, pottery, artist books, decoy design, spring musical, symphonic band, concert band, marching band, a cappella choir, honor choir, solo and ensemble concert, wind symphony and more.

The theme of this year's banquet was titled "Streets of Hope with Banksy." Banksy is an artist known for his artwork titled "Balloon Girl." This past October, this artwork sold for $1.37 million at an auction in London. Shortly after the gavel dropped and it was sold, the picture frame and canvas passed through a shredder hidden within the frame, partially shredding the picture. The artist later posted a video of the self-destructing painting on Instagram.

The fine arts advisers noted in the program, what makes this art piece so eye catching and memorable is its "ability to speak a message in mere seconds. Even without reading the words that are faintly painted to the side of the image, there is a clear motif of hope."

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Before the program began, students and their parents had a chance to view the Visual Arts Show, while music was provided by the high school's Windfall ensemble. Before the students were recognized, Windfall performed "Penny Lane" by the Beatles.

During the program, 54 Fine Arts Scholars-seniors who maintained a 3.5 grade point average-were recognized. The Brainerd Dispatch initiated the Fine Arts Scholar Medallion in 1999 to honor students, in cooperation with the school. Dispatch Publisher Pete Mohs handed out the awards for the Fine Arts Scholars.

Brainerd Superintendent Laine Larson, who welcomed parents to the program, said attending the fine arts banquet is one of her favorite things to do, as the arts has always been important to herself and her family. Larson said when she was a new teacher at Bagley High School she tried out for a community theater play as a way to meet people. This is where she met her husband and as parents they instilled an appreciation and involvement in the fine arts with their children.

Larson said the fine arts students should celebrate their achievements and be proud. She said every day there has been something exciting happening at the high school, from all the artwork they have produced throughout the school year.

Larson also spoke of the new performing arts center that is expected to break ground by late August to early September, after voters approved the referendum-which is exciting for the community.

"I hope each of you are aspiring artists tonight," she said. "Take this as a vote of confidence from your community and your family as they have made a significant investment in your creation, your enrichment and to help you contribute beauty and value to our society, and for that we are most appreciative."

Activities Director Charlie Campbell said this time of year-which is kicked off during prom-at the high school is exciting as seniors are getting close to graduation and as they attend banquets to honor their achievements, with last week's sports banquet and Monday's fine arts banquet.

"This is a special time for students and their families," he said.

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Award of Excellence winners

• Kasey Knight for Brainonian.

• Elizabeth Archer and Kendal Rausch for visual arts.

• Erika Christiansen for orchestra.

• Elizabeth Borash for theater.

• Kealy Johnson for Youth in Government.

• Cameron Olson earned the Patrick S. Gilmore Band Award.

• Erika Christiansen earned the John Phillips Sousa Award.

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• Ben Toriseva earned the Louis Armstrong Award.

• Mariko Hermerding and Oliver Knudson for choir.

• Ethan Raskin for mock trial.

• Abigail Marana and Jordan Swenson for creative writing.

• Maddie Schuld for debate.

Visual arts awards

• Most Prolific Artist Award: Elizabeth Archer.

• Most Technical/Original: Emily Haug.

• Overall Drawing: Elsa Overland won and second place was a tie between Jack Ingram and Molly Fitzpatrick.

• Overall Favorite Painting: Taya Person won and second place was a tie between Maycie Berg and Emily Jaenert.

• Photography: Natalia Chrisinger won and Maia Hallonen took second.

• Digital/Graphic Art: Madeline Eberle won and Miranda Ostlund took second.

• Overall Pottery: Kendal Rausch and Ella Norlin tied for first.

• Overall Favorite Artist Book: Elisabeth Buffetta won and Kendal Rausch took second.

• Overall Decoy Carving: Elliot Nordin won and Broc Pederson took second.

• Overall Favorite Video Game Design: Clayton Pyle and Dominic Rennie took first; Amber Kartman and Jordan Gerdes took second; and Turner Person and Andrew Narlock took third.

Honorable mentions

• Drawing and painting: Maddie Schuld, Chayse Pickar, Brianna Severs, Kendal Rausch, Natasha Bumpus, Taylor Ruhl, Meghan McConville and Bryce Killian.

• Pottery: Elisabeth Buffetta, Grant Yliniemi, Karlie Ray and Mason Hill.

• Photography: Ellie Chileen and Zach Olds.

• Video Game Design: Dade Makarrall.

Lay Person of the Year

• Scott Lykins, a BHS graduate and founder of the Lakes Area Music Festival. He was unable to attend the banquet.

Related Topics: THEATER
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