By Veronica Clephas, Fern Creek High School
When Louisville resident Olivia Brotzge was a child, she would curl up on her bedroom floor with a notebook in her lap and a pencil in her hand, ready to write down everything that happened in the latest episode of Dora the Explorer.
“I started writing before I started going to school,” Brotzge said. “I would watch an episode of Dora and write down what happened. I would make little books with stickers and drawings, and that’s how I first started learning to write.”
Her mom always laminated the drawings and made little books, Brotzge said.
However, the WKU High School Journalism Workshop participant didn’t always have a passion for journalism. Brotzge dreamt of a career in theater when she was in middle school. She either wanted to attend the Youth Performing Arts School or duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky.
As she got older, Brotzge realized there was too much competition in theater, and maybe it wasn’t for her.
During English class her eighth-grade year, Brotzge and her classmates had to write essays for entrance into Manual. Although she knew she wanted to attend Manual like her sister, she wasn’t sure about her academic path. Eric Schmidt, Brotzge’s English teacher at the time, noticed her confusion and suggested Brotzge look into Manual’s journalism and communications program. After researching more about the program, graphic design piqued Brotzge’s curiosity. Her interest in journalism grew after she took a journalism class taught by Manual’s communications teacher James Miller. Now, journalism is one of the most key factors in her life.
“Journalism is one of the most important careers in the world,” Brotzge said.
She said she believes journalism gives the voiceless a voice and that without journalism, people would be left in the dark.
Brotzge said she doesn’t have much time outside of work and school but spends what free time she has on photography. She bought her first camera in October 2016 after saving up the money she earned from her job as a cashier at Paul’s Fruit Market in Louisville.
Brotzge set up a photography studio in a spare bedroom in her house with sheets hung as backdrops. Her parents also gave her a studio light last Christmas, and she said she now is saving up for a second one.
When Brotzge heard about Xposure, she was driven to apply since E. Streeter, a current Xposure counselor and her best friend had attended the workshop a year ago.
“I knew Olivia would get in out of all the people who applied at Manual,” Streeter said.
Brotzge said she has high aspirations for her career in photojournalism.
“My dream is to be photo director of National Geographic,” she said.