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Seniors excel in community writing contest

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Senior Kayleigh Padar recites her award-winning poem, 'Twisted Sickness.'

Senior Kayleigh Padar recites her award-winning poem, 'Twisted Sickness.'

•Caroline Stiefbold

•Caroline Stiefbold

Senior Kayleigh Padar recites her award-winning poem, 'Twisted Sickness.'

Caroline Stiefbold

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Seniors Kayleigh Padar, Jodie Hermann, and Amiya Kishore will be honored at the District 214 Arts Unlimited reception on April 18 for the placing in the Arts Unlimited Community Art & Writing contest sponsored by District 214 and the Daily Herald.

Padar’s piece “Twisted Sickness” won in the poetry category.

“It was so exciting to win. I woke up to the email and screamed a little bit. I was really, really nervous about it because I kept looking back on my poem and thinking about all the other things I could’ve changed, but when I won I felt so relieved,” Padar said.

Hermann and Kishore earned first and second, respectively, in the prose category.

“When I first opened the email stating I placed second in the prose category, it took me completely off guard because I wasn’t expecting to be placed at all. I felt genuinely happy that my writing has advanced this much since the beginning of the year,” Kishore said.

Their winning works will be published in the Daily Herald.

“I’m really excited to be published in the Daily Herald. Being published is such a unique feeling with any kind of piece. It’ll be cool to see my poetry published somewhere because that’s never happened to me. Just knowing that people will be reading my work and maybe relating to it or enjoying it makes me really happy,” Padar said.

Padar found her poetry inspiration from from aspects of their own lives.

“It’s a poem about watching someone with anxiety and what mental illness looks like. My younger cousin was my inspiration and who this poem is based off of. The poem is basically just describing what I saw when I watched her have a panic attack, so I was thinking a lot about her and her experiences when I wrote it,” Padar said.

Kishore also focused her piece on family, following the guidelines of a literature assignment,

“The prose piece was assigned to me about by roots, who my family members were, etc. So I guess the inspiration came from the assignment itself – without a push in that direction I certainly wouldn’t have been able to come up with that,” Kishore said.

Having written several pieces throughout the year, Padar found the feedback of fellow students helpful in choosing which poem would be best suited for the contest.

“In AP Lit, Mr. Clark had us each print 30 copies of a piece and have the entire class read it and write comments on it. I used the poem I eventually submitted for the contest for that assignment and I got really good feedback from my classmates. I decided to submit it because everyone seemed to really like it and I had a lot of material to make changes from all of their comments and edits,” Padar said.

Unlike many contests that students are able to submit in, this contest was open to all community members who live in the District 214 boundaries, not just students.

“I was honestly at loss for what to submit because I didn’t feel that my writing was on par with what an editor from the Daily Herald was expecting. My earlier pieces were obviously not my best work, and with the help of Mr. Clark I managed to transform one of my more recent prose pieces into something worth submitting,” Kishore said.

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Seniors excel in community writing contest