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The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

The student news site of Amador Valley High School

AmadorValleyToday

Ishmeet Dhillon (‘24) is the 2023-24 school year Teen Poet Laureate

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Edwin He
Ishmeet Dhillon (’24) funnels her passion for reading and writing into her work as Teen Poet Laureate.

Beginning this school year, Ishmeet Dhillon (’24) serves as Pleasanton’s Teen Poet Laureate. Through community events and her writing, she aims to empower young voices and help them find their love for poetry. 

Serving the community

Dhillon plans to host open mic events, writing workshops, and author visits. She works with librarian and Teen Poet Laureate liaison, Christopher Ota, and the High School Music Collaborative to increase engagement between the youth and authors. 

“I plan to host many opportunities to publish poetry from people in the community. [I want] to encourage people aspiring to be poets, like me when I was younger, to participate and appreciate the art of poetry and writing,” said Dhillon

For every season, Dhillon posts a poem on the City of Pleasanton website. Her fall poem is published, and more will come throughout the year. She hopes to inspire like the poets that inspired her.

“Some of the poets I read growing up were Langston Hughes and Robert Frost. The way they talk about social issues has always inspired me to write more,” said Dhillon.

Where it all began

Dhillon has been reading and writing from a young age. She turned to poetry as a means to express herself and share her thoughts on important issues. 

“I just genuinely love to write. Growing up, I’ve always loved to go to the library and read books. My passion for writing stems from my passion for literature. I love to sit down with a piece of paper and write down my thoughts and ideas,” said Dhillon.

She constantly works to improve her writing skills and appreciates the support from people around her, like her mom, who motivates her to keep going. 

“There’s been trials and tribulations. When I submitted my work to contests, sometimes I didn’t win. I would go back and review it and see how I can make my writing better. There’s always room for improvement, even now,” said Dhillon

Dhillon’s hard work paid off. She won two awards from the Tri-Valley Writers Association writing contest last year. Her work was also published in Poetry Walk, an event hosted by Dublin Poet Laureate, James Morehead

“[James Morehead] takes submissions from poets all across the world and posts them on a small business in Dublin. It’s an annual event and it’s up for the entire month of April. My poetry was chosen for that two times, so two years in a row,” said Dhillon

Sharing passion

Before her time as Teen Poet Laureate, Dhillon fostered community engagement through her writing column, the Writer’s Spotlight. Starting from ninth grade, she and her friends would publish writing from students and people all over the Tri-Valley. 

“A lot of people submitted poems, stories, and sometimes even artwork. We just published those to get people engaged in writing,” said Dhillon

All of the publications, events, and projects have led up to her applying to be a Teen Poet Laureate. She had to go through an extensive application process. 

“You apply for the position at the end of either your sophomore year, junior year, or both. You have to submit a statement and then a couple of poems,” said Dhillon. “After you submit your application, you have an interview with members of city commissions and the Teen Poet Laureate from the previous year.” 

Now as the Teen Poet Laureate, Dhillon is excited to put her plans into action. 

“I think that the role of Teen Poet Laureate is honestly such a great role in our community,” said Dhillon. “I just hope that I can fill it as best as my predecessors have and create the most impact that I can.” 

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