Photo By: Courtesy of Libbie Katsev
Los Altos High School senior Libbie Katsev traveled to Miami last month to attend YoungArts Week after being named a National YoungArts Foundation Finalist.
Katsev’s journey began last year after her instructor, Keren Robertson, mentioned that she should submit a sample of her writing to the contest. Approximately 10,000 students applied for the recognition in nine disciplines in the visual, literary and performing arts. Katsev was selected for her nonfiction entry.
“It is an amazing honor to have won for YoungArts, and I couldn’t be prouder of her,” Robertson said. “She is a tremendous writer, thinker and young person.”
The finalists were chosen through a blind adjudication process from a pool of applicants representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia, in addition to the U.S. territories. There are 685 YoungArts Winners for 2013, including those selected in the Honorable Mention and Merit categories.
Katsev wrote her entry, “Science (Faith),” in her junior year for the Tapestry Project, completed in English class. The project was to answer the question “Who Am I?” She wrote on science and her Jewish faith.
“I really like science,” Katsev said. “Believing in science is a form of faith for me.”
Katsev said she enjoyed attending YoungArts Week, where she joined 151 other finalists in a week of intense master classes with internationally renowned actors, musicians, artists and writers such as Adrian Grenier (1994 Alumnus in Theater), Marisa Tomei, Bobby McFerrin, Andrew Rannells (1997 Alumnus in Theater) and Bill T. Jones (YoungArts Artistic Adviser). Students had opportunities to share their work each evening through performances, readings, exhibitions and screenings that were free and open to the public.
Katsev’s group of 24 writers met with panelists prominent in the writing field.
“We did a lot of talking about what it is actually like to be a writer,” she said. “Not a lot of professional writers are famous. These panelists were writers and were successful and shared different ways to build a life around being a writer.”
Katsev said they visited an independent bookstore in Miami where they met the founder and owner, who shared how he manages to remain open and discussed the publishing business.
There was intercommunication with the artists in the other disciplines as well, Katsev said.
“They really tried to stress the interdisciplinary aspect of the arts – how they all tie together,” she said. “I felt I was seeing how what I did fit into what other people create. What we like to do was pretty different, but it was really cool to think about things in a different way.”
Meeting with filmmakers and learning about screenwriting, Katsev said, inspired her to think about “different ways I could approach telling a story.”
Katsev, currently editor-in-chief of The Talon, Los Altos High’s newspaper, said she wants to pursue writing in the future.
“I know I definitely want to do something with writing,” she said. “There hasn’t been a type of writing that I have disliked. As long as I find some type of writing to do in my life, I should be happy.”
For more information on the YoungArts Foundation, visit www.youngarts.org.