Area residents paid tribute Monday night to about 185 Brainerd High School seniors who have excelled in artistic and creative endeavors en route to graduation.
More than 500 parents, teachers, students and arts advocates packed the high school cafeteria for the 22nd annual Fine Arts Banquet, where dozens of awards and scholarships were handed out to the cream of the graduating crop.
The banquet honors those who have participated in the school's arts-related programs, including visual and dramatic arts; band, orchestra and choir; television production, Fifth Street Journal, Brainonian and Quill and Scroll; debate, mock trial and speech; and creative writing.
Each department singled out its top student for recognition with an "Award for Excellence" plaque. In most, the faculty made the selection, but in band, choir, orchestra and television production, students themselves determined the award winner.
In addition, a dozen area businesses and organizations used the occasion to award scholarships to college-bound graduates.
Although the formal ceremony focused attention on the award and scholarship winners, each of the 185 students was introduced to the audience with a moment in the spotlight and the reading of his or her achievements.
A moment also was reserved for Bev Jondahl, a visual arts instructor who is retiring at the end of this school year after 30 years of service. She was cited for her contributions in starting and maintaining the annual banquet.
Perhaps the biggest winners of the night included Andrew Doucette and Josh Couch, both of whom received $1,000 college scholarships from the A Cappella Choir Alumni.
The alumni group also awarded $500 scholarships to Jarod Carlson and Jennifer Sorensen.
Other scholarship recipients included: Ronnie Miller, Brainerd Area Art Club; Graham Lampa, The Brainerd Dispatch; Katie Cox, Downtown Art and Frame; Kirsten Rinke, Encore Art Club; Danielle Boos, Kummet, Larson and Bluth Accounting; Dan Holbrook, Lake Country Journal; Jesse Couch, Larson Photography; Courtney Halverson and Jennifer Sorensen, Russell-Herder Advertising; and Molly Lynnes, Crossing Arts Alliance.
Duane Roberts of the Exchange Club was cited for "outstanding lay person in the arts" for his contributions to the school's creative arts programs.
The "excellence awards" for each department include: Sara Depoppe, Chamber Orchestra; Kyle Roggenkamp, Symphonia Orchestra; Jennifer Sorensen, one-act play; Matt Cummings, drama; Kelly Diiro, Brainonian; Meghan Rahn, creative writing; Courtney Halverson, Fifth Street Journal; Eric Schuety, television production; Darin Stout, Bards; Krista Gosert, Concert Chorale; Brianna Keran, A Cappella Choir; Mark Femling, Concert Band; Ronnie Miller, Symphonic Band; Cecilia Patterson, competitive speech; Molly Lynnes, mock trial; Jesse Couch, visual arts; and Graham Lampa, Lincoln-Douglas debate.
Elizabeth Adams received a certificate of recognition from the school's visual arts teachers.
The student Art Club also presented awards to about a dozen students who won the club's annual art contest. The winning works were exhibited outside the cafeteria.
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