Kristina Tsakos talks about experience as Fitzgerald Scholar


Jake Klugerman
senior profiles editor

Common Sense sat down with the school’s F. Scott Fitzgerald Scholar Senior Kristina Tsakos. Tsakos was nominated by the English department as a student who excels in literary work in Montgomery County.

Common Sense: What type of literary work are you involved in at school?

Kristina Tsakos: I have been part of Litmag since my sophomore year. I started as the head photography editor and I have been the editor-in-chief my junior year and this year. I have been a staff writer and arts editor for the newspaper. I try to incorporate all different aspects of writing in my life. I write poetry and articles, and every week in Litmag I look at creative pieces.

CS: What was your reaction when you were told you had been chosen as the F. Scott Fitzgerald Scholar?

KT: Being told that I was the scholar was a huge honor. It was amazing to know that people saw that in me and having people believe in my skills felt great.

CS: What did you receive as the F. Scott Fitzgerald Scholar?

KT: I had the chance to attend the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival with other scholars and kids from all over Maryland. There were different events at the festival like a special film screening and film interpretation and many different workshops.

CS: What was your day like at the festival?

KT: I got to do a workshop with the F. Scott Fitzgerald winning author Richard Russo. He read us some of the pieces he has written and talked about the theme in them, and people got to ask questions, which is awesome because he is a well-established writer. I also got to do a special workshop with the other students chosen as F. Scott Fitzgerald scholars. It was with Jennifer Finney Boylan, who works for The Washington Post and is a professor at Columbia University. She went through her own experience with the writing and review process, and we talked about how we plan our writing. It was very interesting and her energy was incredible. She also spoke about her experience being a transgender woman and how that shapes a lot of her articles and it was very inspiring.

CS: Did you have the chance to get to know some of the other scholars at the event?

KT: I did get to know the other scholars. It was nice because we were all there because we care about writing. We all got to go on stage together and take a picture and get a certificate.

CS: How does being chosen as the scholar and attending the festival affect your desire to continue working in the literary field in the future?

KT: I think going to the festival was inspiring and reestablished my passion for writing. Seeing the successful people and how much fun they have and the challenges they have gone through makes it seem like it is a good path to go through. It makes you want to create.