Power to the Poetry Contestival

Students celebrate the annual poetry festival


Annabel Roubinowitz

Students gathered in the Syufy Theatre to attend the annual Poetry Contestival. Award-winning poet Alexandra Kostoulas spoke on stage and awarded the school-wide winners, senior Bailey Parent and junior Ruby Aiello, their prizes.

Annabel Roubinowitz, Senior Reporter

The annual Poetry Contestival for grades 9-12 took place during community time this afternoon in Syufy Theatre. The students awarded were determined by members of the English department and judge Alexandra Kostoulas. 

“I entered the poetry festival because I wanted to put myself out there and improve my poetry skills,” senior Emma Chongo said. “The poem was about my experience getting a concussion and it was really personal,” 

During community time, students were first instructed to meet at their advisories and then congregate as a school at Syufy Theatre for the festival. The festival opened with a meditative reading of student poetry, recited by the poets themselves or their classmates. 

“I submitted a poem because my English teacher inspired me to submit my work,” junior Alexandra Chua said. “My teacher didn’t give me a specific prompt, so I just wrote about a Starbucks drink that I love,” 

Poetry prizes were awarded to students for first, second and third place within each grade. The winners were determined by members of the English department and students were given the awards by their respective English teachers. 

“I’m really inspired by students who are brave enough to share their work,” Religion, Theology & Spirituality teacher Clint Hackenburg said. “I’m not comfortable enough to be vulnerable with strangers, so it’s really admirable,” 

Award-winning poet and writer Alexandra Kostoulas was invited to be a judge at the event. She is the founder and executive director of the San Francisco Creative Writing institute, and currently serves as an instructor in The Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING program.

On stage, Kostoulas performed samples of her work and discussed her own interpretation of poetry. In addition, she awarded school-wide winners of the festival senior Bailey Parent and junior Ruby Aiello their certificates.

“The poetry contestival was such a great experience because we finally got to experience it in person for the first time in three years,” Chongo said. “We could just finally come together as a community and celebrate poetry.”