...and Life Story During Class Project
GLASSBORO, NJ - In Krystyna Hovell's screenwriting class, her course's semester project is to write a 45-to-90 page script about a fictionalized version of an important story close to her. Immediately, she thought about her own life story, including her time in the foster care system.
Hovell, a forward on the Rowan field hockey team, doesn't quite remember exactly how long she was in the foster care system, but what she does know is that she was able to find a forever home with two loving parents who adopted her and eight others later on. Krystyna sometimes gets flashbacks from her time in foster care. "I get flashbacks a lot from seeing other foster siblings I was living with at the time and I just remember certain moments where there was all of us kids in one big house and it was always an adventure." says Hovell. "I was really young so it's kind of hard to remember every detail, but I do get flashbacks here and there from some things that happened."
Hovell was in the foster care system until she was adopted by her family when she was a toddler. Krystyna has a pretty big family, a unique one for sure. In her family, all but one of her siblings are adopted and it includes a set of four siblings related by blood. Her siblings are Bobby (34), Nikkita (23), Julia (18), Steph (18), Christopher (18), Xander (16), Laylynn (4), Addison (2), Elijah (1) and Colton (8 months).
"People look at our family and think 'Wow! Like why? How?', what lady can manage all of those kids. Anyone who knows my mom or knew my dad would say that she is a pro, it's like it was meant for her to have them all. But I know at the end of the day, I wouldn't change my family for the world," says Hovell. "It's amazing to be able to spend so many days with that amount of people in our family and somehow still be alive! It's always a blast going to places as a family like vacation, out to dinner, birthdays and all of it… always a great time with my loved ones. It's also just an amazing story, you know. It's just something that's so real and magical."
Ultimately, Hovell chose a unique part of her life story for the class project: being the only girl on the wrestling team when she was in high school. Hovell chose to write her screenplay about that experience since her time on the wrestling team made so much of who she is today.
"I am strong on the inside and out because of this sport specifically. It taught me how to be strong mentally, while being on the hockey field as well," says Hovell. "It is such a personal and it's a true story that is touching and amazing, and very speaking in my opinion."
For Hovell, she got interested in wrestling because she wanted to prove a point that women can do just as much as men can. "I feel like what got me into wrestling is that I was told 'Girls can't do what boys can do.' and so I wanted to prove a point," says Hovell. "Everybody knew me as the girl from Eastern on the wrestling team. The girl that kicked butt and it's exactly what I wanted to do. It's exactly what happened."
Though, when Hovell first made the wrestling team, she knew that it would be an eye-opening experience being an athlete in a mostly male-dominated sport. "At first, I'm not going to lie, it was very strange because it was one girl surrounded by five male coaches and sixteen other dudes on the team," says Hovell. "But within two weeks of being on the team, it was like I was one of the dudes."
During her time on the wrestling team, Krystyna wrestled at 126 lbs. for two seasons, 120 lbs. for one season and later 113 lbs. in her last season. In her senior year, she had a record of 18-3 on the varsity wrestling team at Eastern Regional High School. She often gave her competitors a run for their money and the coaches viewed her as one of the hardest-working members of the team.
Hovell was known to be a fierce competitor on the wrestling team. She would get motivated by her coaches as she would outperform her teammates during practice. Even to this day she still remembers the excitement of winning matches as a wrestler.
"I can remember a time where I was at a match and the points between me and my opponent we're going back to back, I was winning one second then he was and just continuous for about two periods. It was towards the end of the match when I noticed that what I was doing was making history and was being noticed. When I watched the video my friend took for me, he was trailing off in the stands and I was able to see everyone in the crowd's faces during this match. The amount of people cheering my name and rooting for me to win. It was one of my proudest moments ever and I will always remember it," says Hovell. "It's the best feeling in the world not only winning but being able to know how to wrestle, well as a girl too I might add could come in handy and I'm glad I chose to do it."
Interestingly enough, Hovell's project combines both of her passions together: sports and filmmaking. A junior Radio, Television, & Film major, Hovell has been interested in the power that screenwriting and filmmaking can bring, referring to it as "making your own magic" since she was in the eighth grade. In addition, sports have always been a large part of her life.
"Playing sports is kind of like my gateway from my stress and my anxiety and depression because whenever I get out on the field or the court or whatever it may be, all I'm focused on is winning, is that game [and the] hard work and push to work together and make that winning goal, that bucket, or whatever it may be," says Hovell. "Like, I couldn't imagine my life if sports wasn't involved."
Putting plenty of time, dedication and hard work into her semester project, she hopes that this is a project she can work on long after her screenwriting class is finished. "I could enter it into a film contest or screenwriting contest to see if people like it and then maybe make that a short film of it," says Hovell. "Then, who knows, maybe one day I can make it into a real movie."
Overall, Krystyna Hovell has had an incredible life story so far and she wants to be able to share it with everyone someday. She also hopes her story can inspire kids currently in the foster care system and offers this advice.
"Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not worth it or you're not special because that's what I was told and it was hard growing up being told that," says Hovell. "It's not your fault. Things happen for a reason and I feel like you're put in the foster care system because that's your chance to find something better."