Nicki Startek knows the power of the pen.
Her command of the quill not only led to two second place finishes in the Hamilton Public Library’s 2018 “Power of the Pen” Creative Writing Contest, but to OCAD University in Toronto, where the Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School graduate is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration.
Power of the Pen is an annual writing contest sponsored by the Hamilton Public Library and The Hamilton Spectator for teens aged 12 to 18. Submissions are judged on originality, style and general presentation, as well as spelling and grammar.
On January 25, Nicki attended a gala at the Hamilton Public Library where she was invited to present her work – a poem titled “Puddles” and a short fiction piece called “Vintage Space” – before a judge. Both pieces placed 2nd in their respective categories. Nicki’s work is currently featured in the Power of the Pen publication on file at the central library.
An outstanding writer, Nicki was encouraged to enter the contest by Darrell D’Souza, her Grade 11 and 12 English teacher at Bishop Ryan who Nicki credits for nurturing her creativity.
“Nicki always showed exceptional intelligence and was a pleasure to teach in class,” says D’Souza. “When I first met her, her foremost love was painting and drawing, but as an English teacher I noticed how she loved to read. I'd always see her with a book in hand.”
“After a few writing assignments, I was awed by her writing ability and told her so,” added D’Souza, who now teaches at Cathedral High School. “I'd like to say I did more, but in truth I just noticed how great of a writer she already was and encouraged her to explore this part of her artistic talent/intelligence.”
Nicki graduated from Bishop Ryan in June and is now using her artistry with a pen in a different medium – illustration. She attributes her current success to the strong foundation established at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School.