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With magic in her writing Dziekan makes the impossible happen

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Senior Anastasia Dziekan performing at Magic at Coney, a magical show that highlights an array of magicians in Coney Island.

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Many know senior Anastasia Dziekan for her magical ability to touch readers with her words. What many don’t know is that her introduction to writing was casual, and developed into a passion throughout her journey in the North Penn School District. In her early days, Dziekan often found herself writing her own books for Montgomery Elementary’s bookworm collection. She has, however, come a long way since her days of writing bookworms.

Presently a senior at North Penn, her work on and off paper has been recognized by many organizations. During her sophomore year she received the American Association of University Women (AAUW) award. In her junior year, she was presented with an award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and was also a finalist in the Penn State High School Essay Contest.

Photo Courtesy of Penn State University
Gregg Rogers (third from left) presents awards to the 2016-2017 Penn State PWR High School Essay Contest winners.

“In middle school is when I think teachers started noticing and were like, ‘hey she can actually do stuff,’ and they talked to my parents about that. First year of high school, sophomore year, I took Creative Writing here and that’s when I was like, ‘yes, this is what I want to do,’” said Dziekan.

At North Penn she has taken Creative Writing 1 and Creative Writing 2 in addition to the Advanced Placement (AP) English and Gifted English courses she already was enrolled in. These classes have enabled her to create a vision and turn it into a reality.

“I cannot thank Mr. Gillespie enough for encouraging me and teaching me about the different ways to write and everything that you can do with writing and the process of it. I’m currently doing a gifted mentorship still with Mr. Gillespie, and that lets me really expand my horizons and work on a longer form of writing which is nice.”

English class has also been a place that continues to inspire her, as she is surrounded by intellectuals who share the same passion.

“My English classes here [have influenced me]. AP english and gifted english courses really making me well read and getting different experiences of literature and seeing the strategies that the most famous authors ever have used definitely helps,” Dziekan shared about some of her most influential classes.

Dziekan has been influenced by her teachers, and by the works of her favorite authors. One in particular is author Douglas Adams known for his comedy science fiction series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“That was the book that kind of got me seriously interested in reading and english and writing. It’s hilarious and sci-fi and it just absolutely captured my imagination, and as soon as I read it I was like I have to write like this.”

Authors like Adams, who have the ability to spark imagination, continue to act as a model to Dziekan. Because of them, she now is able to create the same effect on others.

When I think of Anastasia’s writing, the first word I naturally think of is magical, but not because there’s artifice or trickery, but because it surprises and delights and offers the unexpected.”

— Anthony Gillespie

North Penn Creative Writing and English teacher Anthony Gillespie shared, “When I think of Anastasia’s writing, the first word I naturally think of is magical, but not because there’s artifice or trickery, but because it surprises and delights and offers the unexpected.  I remember Anastasia as a comic book reading tenth grader, her hair streaked with pink, sharing her work in a class filled with juniors and seniors.  Right away her writing impressed the room; it was clever, creative, polished, funny.  She could blend science-fiction, fantasy, comedy, high-adventure into  something new and something with surprising heart. What impressed me most was her willingness to experiment, to try new things, new genres, new forms while having a voice all her own.”

Dziekan’s has the power to stimulate one’s imagination not only as an author, but also as a magician.

“I got into magic mostly because of [my dad]. I saw a couple magic shows as a kid and was like that’s pretty cool, and my dad was like, ‘I’m a magician too’ and I was like, ‘that’s really cool,’ so he got me into it and he taught me some of the basic stuff,” said Dziekan.

When she was seven years old she joined the Society of Young Magicians (SYM), a program created by the Society of American Magicians (SAM), which is the world’s oldest and most prestigious magic organization according to their website. In this organization magicians ages seven to seventeen are provided with the necessary forum for the advancement of magic through discussions, lectures, research, performances, and exchange of magic secrets within the magic community (SAM). Dziekan is a part of Branch 96, and they meet twice a month.

“We have lecturers who are professional magicians and we’ve had some pretty big name people come by and that’s really cool. They share some of their knowledge with us. We perform for each other and critique each other’s work and really develop our act. We’re always learning and we’re always getting new things. We’re always trying new stuff [in regards to] magic and performances. It’s fun to be there because everyone is so nice and we really are like a little family,” shared Dziekan.

Dziekan has made her talents known here at North Penn through her participation in the annual talent show. She has also performed in local churches, community centers, and charity events in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, New York City, Coney Island, and Indianapolis among other places when she was selected for Stars of Tomorrow, a SAM show that highlights some of the best up-and-coming magicians who are seven to seventeen years old (SAM).

Now in her last year in high school, Dziekan is beginning to shape her future. She plans to continue her education and study secondary education, english, and creative writing.

“My dream job is to be an author, I’d love to do that professionally,” shared Dziekan. “As my practical career, [I would like to become] a high school english teacher because the people who have done that have really influenced me in my life. I’d really like to sort of follow that,” said Dziekan.

As she prepares to pack her bags for college in a few months, she has no plans to leave her love for magic behind.

“I don’t think I’ll ever give [magic] up. I definitely intend to at least keep learning magic. When performing opportunities come up I’m always going to take them and just keep having that as something that’s a part of my life,” said Dziekan.

“I just want to show that nothing’s impossible. If you think it’s impossible, then you absolutely have to go out and do it and create it and make it possible because when you write you’re taking something that has never existed and then you suddenly make it exist in your story. When you do magic you’re taking things that people say can’t be done and then doing it for them. I would just always want to leave this impression that if I can do it you can do it.”

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Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA
With magic in her writing Dziekan makes the impossible happen