Submitted by: Arany Uthayakumar
My name is Arany Uthayakumar, and I'm going to be a senior at Amador Valley High School this year.
Recently, the Teen Poet Laureate Program in Pleasanton was discontinued. As someone who loves to write, I was heartbroken when I heard of this.
The Teen Poet Laureate Program gave students an opportunity to serve our community in a special way that many service opportunities do not offer— preserving the arts and humanities, while fostering confidence in younger students to pursue their own passions and creativity. I reached out to former Teen Poet Laureates to get their thoughts about why this program is so essential.
Vivienne Chen, a former Pleasanton Teen Poet Laureate, said it best when she noted that younger kids (not just writers) need encouragement from people/mentors who aren't yet adults to show that pursuing what they love— in any field— is totally possible.
The Teen Poet Laureate Program has helped people realize the significant role that writers have in the community. The Poet Laureate Program is revered and important to any government body and its culture.
The fact that we have a National Poet Laureate attests to that. Vivienne says the Teen Poet Laureate is such an innovative idea because it takes that integral role to a governing body, and puts it in the hands of youth. She also emphasizes that the Teen Poet Laureate position is not a resume-builder; it is a position of service.
When there are fiscal struggles in any town, programs are cut.... but the arts and humanities shouldn't consistently be the first ones to go. And if there is anything that I've learned in my 17 years, it's that we cannot afford to sit back while what we love is threatened.
A petition is spreading all around Pleasanton, and even kids nationwide are supporting our efforts to reinstate this program. I know people in Minnesota and South Carolina who have shared this petition on Facebook to garner attention for our cause.
The petition can be viewed and signed at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/teens-love-poetry-too/
Thank you very much for your time and work. I fervently hope that we can bring about change to save this wonderful program.