Shelly Bingham is wrapping up her senior year at Brainerd High with a course schedule as sweet as her lifelike pencil drawings.
She's enrolled in three drawing classes -- "I'm an aide all day and hang in the art room," she said -- and A Cappella Choir, which departs this week for a four-concert tour of France.
With required courses behind her, Bingham reserved her final semester at BHS for artistic pursuits, she said this week in an interview. Some of her required credits were earned at Central Lakes College.
Fine art: drawing
Fine arts activities: art courses, A Cappella Choir
Most memorable art achievement: won Art Club contest last year
Favorite subject: drawing
Artist most admired: Frank Lloyd Wright
Favorite movie: "Beaches"
Favorite TV program: "Diagnosis Murder"
Favorite food: pizza
Future plans: high school drawing teacher
Parent: Lesley Jenkins
"I have always liked art," she said, "and I believe I have found my calling."
Bingham, noted for her large format pencil drawings of faces, is Fine Arts Student of Week. Her work reflects the love of detail found in the grain of portrait photography.
"I have no idea why I like working in a large format," she said, "but I feel like I can get more detail in it. Everything I do seems to be big," including her recent "Hunger" and "Hope," freehand pencil drawings that bring life to a starving child and an aging woman, respectively.
Bingham said her work hangs throughout her mother's house and has often been commissioned by other family members, for Christmas and birthday gifts.
"Shelly is a self-motivated, technically skilled and creative drawing student," said art instructor Beth Medine, who nominated Bingham for the Fine Arts Student recognition.
"She always goes a bit further than requirements of a project demand and prefers to work in large scale so that her work is even more impressive than the average," Medine said.
Bingham assists Medine as an aide in one drawing course and an intern in another, in keeping with the 18-year-old's long-term dream of becoming a high school art teacher.
Her pursuit, however, will be delayed for a while after graduation in June so she can relocate to Charleston, S.C., where her husband-to-be will be stationed for a two-year Naval training program as a nuclear engineer.
Bingham said she is engaged to marry Matt Willard, a 1999 BHS grad, who recently completed boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Air Station near Chicago.
Bingham missed a day of school this week as she completed a 16-hour bus ride from the air station and Willard's graduation ceremonies. She got home just in time to attend her induction into the National Honor Society at a BHS function Tuesday night.
She maintains a 3.74 grade point average and demonstrates her leadership skills as president of the A Cappella Choir, where she performs in the alto section.
"I like making something that people will think about, something that makes a statement," she said, "and drawing is one way to do that. Singing is another and both will remain a part of my life."
Cassidy Dobson, junior, Symphonic Band: The first clarinet, she earned a superior rating at the recent Solo and Ensemble Contest, her director said.
Dayna Logering, senior, Brainonian: Editor-in-chief of the 2000 Brainonian.
Amber Vandenburgh, senior, orchestra: The principle flute in the Chamber Orchestra, she performed at the Mozart Flute Contest last week and placed third in the northern half of the recent Minnesota High School Listening Contest.
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