Tara Brodmarkle's interest in writing encouraged her to sign on this semester with the Brainonian staff.
But she never dreamed she would become the lightning rod for the yearbook's financial success.
Three weeks into the semester, the Brainonian's powers-that-be assigned her to lead the publication's one-person advertising sales staff, ending her prospects as a staff writer.
As ad-sales "editor," Brodmarkle is responsible for bringing in the dough that largely underwrites the yearbook's publishing costs, she said in an interview this week.
So far, she's exceeded expectations, finding enough advertisers to fill eight pages of the 2001-2002 yearbook. Combined with the sales by her predecessor, the advertising count is within a page and a half of the breakeven point and just four and a half pages of the publication's goal, she said.
Her contributions also resulted in her nomination as Fine Arts Student of the Week.
Art focus: ad sales
Art activities: Brainonian
GPA: no idea
Favorite subjects: English, Brainonian
Most memorable fine arts achievement: named Brainonian ad sales editor
Artist most admired: not sure
Favorite movie: "Fight Club"
Favorite TV program: doesn't watch much
Parents: Brenda and Harry Brodmarkle of Brainerd
"Tara has shown she can work independently, be organized and committed to doing the best she can," the Brainonian faculty adviser said in making the nomination.
"Tara was promoted to editor after only three weeks in the class and has worked very hard on our ads staff," the adviser said.
Brodmarkle attributes her assignment to the fact she is one of the few students in the class with a car, but she has grown into the task.
"I didn't like it at first," she said with typical candor. "I didn't like calling people (prospective advertisers) out of the blue. I always wanted to be a writer but they (Brainonian staff) needed people on the advertising staff instead. And I was added to the staff because I have a car."
As advertising editor, she has discovered that "a lot of people are really mean," responding to her solicitation with rudeness, anger and even complaints about their ads that have run in previous yearbook editions, she said.
Brodmarkle also has been amused by the anomalies she sees in some advertising decisions, including the Brainonian's acceptance of ads from area liquor stores and tobacco shops whose products are unavailable to high school students.
She's also puzzled by Planned Parenthood's decision not to advertise in the yearbook, in light of the organization's teen outreach efforts.
But Brodmarkle said she has found success for her ad sales efforts with area car dealers, movie theaters, restaurants, grocery stores and resorts.
"It'll be cool to look back in 20 years and say I helped make the yearbook happen," Brodmarkle said, adding her father's 1984 Brainonian remains a curiosity at home. Harry Brodmarkle is a 1984 Brainerd High School grad.
But her ad sales experience has not changed the 17-year-old junior's long-term aspirations of becoming a writer, she said.
Brodmarkle also excels in the arts, particularly drawing and painting, saying, "I'm always drawing or doodling on something."
And if her writing aspirations fall through, she said, she'll likely turn to something else in the arts.
"It would be awesome to be a tattoo artist," she said with a chuckle, acknowledging she hasn't yet adorned her physique with an example of her designs.
For now, she'll settle for contributing a futuristic design for the yearbook's first page, capturing the Brainonian's movie-related theme, she said.
Jenni Knowlen, senior, Fifth Street Journal: "She is a good writer and an excellent sales person, and has helped our advertising crew tremendously," the Fifth Street Journal faculty adviser said.
Heather Larson, senior, art: "She consistently works to improve and build upon her strengths as a painter," her art instructor said. "She is willing to ask questions and is not afraid to challenge herself creatively."
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