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Gina Kostovetsky Advances to Poetry Out Loud Regionals

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Gina Kostovetsky Advances to Poetry Out Loud Regionals

By Divitya Vakil

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Niles West students competed in the school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition during late start on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Each student was called upon one by one to stand in the center of the room, being critiqued on every minuscule detail of their poem recitation.

This Poetry Out Loud school-wide competition was tough, considering that the group consisted of the most qualified and passionate speakers at Niles West all competing against each other for the coveted first place spot. The winner will move on to regionals, which will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.

After all the scores were tallied, sophomore Gina Kostovetsky was deemed first, and freshman Priyanka Patel was named runner-up. English teacher Michael Kucera, one of the judges, said that though making these decisions was hard, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to judge.

“I was an accuracy judge, which means that I had to make sure that every student was getting a fair chance, and the others were getting that same fair chance. The attention to detail always makes me a little anxious, but it’s always a pleasure,” Kucera said. “I even admitted to another teacher that this was a very heartening way to start the day. I love how passionate they are about poetry and it honestly just takes such courage for them to push themselves out of their comfort zone, and that’s a gift to me.”

Kostovetsky was delighted when she received the news.

“When I finally received the results, I was absolutely astonished. I was sitting in my chemistry classroom, and when I read the email with the results I literally jumped out of my seat and stood up,” Kostovetsky said. “To say that I wasn’t expecting to win is an understatement. There were so many talented and more experienced people that got through to this round, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see my name up there. I am very happy with the results and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Kostovetsky will now move on to the regional competition, held at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. Students from Chicago high schools will once again recite poems for the chance to represent Illinois at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC, in April. Last year more than 365,000 students around the country competed for more than $100,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends.

Be sure to congratulate Kostovetsky and wish her luck as she advances to the next exciting round.

Divitya Vakil, Editor in Chief

When she's not writing for the NWN, Divitya can probably be found on the nearest couch taking a nap or binge-watching movies on Netflix. She loves playing...

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