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Niles West’s Gina Kostovetsky Advances State Poetry Out Loud Competition

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Niles West’s Gina Kostovetsky Advances State Poetry Out Loud Competition

By Divitya Vakil

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Sophomore Gina Kostovetsky has made Niles West history by becoming the first-ever student to place first at the regional Poetry Out Loud competition, advancing her to the state competition.

Kostovetsky first won the school-wide competition here at West, and then advanced to regionals at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago on Wednesday, Feb. 22. She took first place at regionals as well, which has advanced her to the state competition in Springfield, Illinois. She will now choose additional poems to recite. If Kostovetsky wins the state competition, she will go to nationals in Washington, DC.

Unlike many others, Kostovetsky managed to keep a clear mind while competing, which may have been the factor that enabled her to win.

“I wasn’t too nervous leading up to both of my performances; I was more excited than anything to perform the pieces I spent so [much time] working on and perfecting,” Kostovetsky said. “The preparation consisted of lots of practice, especially in front of people that I didn’t know. I knew I would be performing for strangers and that I couldn’t let the nerves of doing that get to my head.”

Kostovetsky credits her success through all of the stages of this competition to her English teacher Sharon Swanson, who has been her mentor.

“Together we did a lot of rehearsing, performing, suggesting and critiquing,” Swanson said. “I do believe that she has grown as a student because of this. She is very talented and was absolutely terrific. I’m a sentimental person and honestly, she brought some tears to my eyes.”

Sophomore Kylie Ramirez accompanied Kostovetsky at Regionals, providing support for her peer.

“I was really rooting for Gina and wanted her to do well. The other contestants seemed really good but many of them were too dramatic. Gina’s poems, though, were lighthearted and got many laughs from the crowd,” Ramirez said. “Her stage presence was perfect and she stood out from the other contestants. When she ended up winning the whole thing, I was so excited. She truly earned the title of first.”

The state competition in Springfield is scheduled for Friday, March 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

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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