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Chestatee senior Brooke Gilbert discovered art amid the pain of an eating disorder
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Brooke Gilbert knows the value of art and wants to share it with others.

The senior at Chestatee High School hopes to attend Brenau University on an art scholarship, after she rediscovered a passion for art amid struggles with an eating disorder.

“Since about the end of middle school, I had a lot of issues with an eating disorder,” said Brooke, 19. “With all that kind of stuff, it really messes up your insides. One of the things I had was ulcers, which kept me from digesting things like I was supposed to and made me sick.”

Brooke was hospitalized a few times and had to be pumped with fluids. She faced complications even after she began to heal.

“I’m much better now, but it’s a lot to recover from if you have a prolonged experience with an eating disorder,” she said.

At the same time, Brooke began to try her hand at art. By her senior year, she was president of the National Honor Society at Chestatee and had created two portfolios for Advanced Placement art courses.

She’s won a few art contests and small scholarships and thrives in acrylic and oil painting.

“Ever since middle school I kind of rediscovered it, through animation and different kinds of comic artists,” she said. “Then it just kind of re-enlivened everything.”

As a senior, Brooke tried her hand at pottery and photography for the first time. She hopes to study studio art at Brenau University and, maybe, become an art teacher.

For her, art is about more than an “easy elective.”

“It’s a lot of fun, even if you’re not a good artist,” she said. “People think they have to be a good drawer or painter, but you can experience things tactically through clay. I think there’s a portion for everybody.”

Brooke said she’s interested in becoming a teacher because of a desire to help others.

“Now that I’m a senior, I’m one of the older people here,” she said. “I help people understand the photography, the pottery and all the other things we do since I’ve had a little bit of every kind of course from our art programs. I really get a lot of gratification from it and have so much joy from helping other people experience art.”

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