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City of Philadelphia Names New Youth Poet Laureate

Soledad Alfaro-Allah, a student at Science Leadership Academy, has been named as the city's second Youth Poet Laureate.


Helen Haynes, Cheif Cultural Officer of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE), and Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock announced Monday that Soledad Alfaro-Allah would be the city's second Youth Poet Laureate - the appointment will run through May 2015. Mayor Michael A. Nutter recognizes the positive impact that the arts can have on young people: "It is important that we get our children interested in art and culture at an early age and the youth poet laureate can play an important inspirational role."

The position of Youth Poet Laureate was established by the OACCE last year to "complement the City's Poet Laureate program and to give a young person an opportunity to develop and showcase his or her talents in poetry with the guidance of an experienced poet." Ms. Alfaro-Allah was chosen among three finalists as this year's winner by the members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock. The other finalists are both students at Northeast High School - Matthew Ridley and Sabrina Slipchenko. Newly appointed Chief Cultural Officer Helen Haynes was excited to see the passion and talent of all the applicants and looks forward to the benefits of the program for both the winner and the youth of Philadelphia: "We were pleased to see the caliber of talent displayed by the applicants for the position and look forward to helping Soledad grow as a poet while inspiring her fellow youth."

According to an article in yesterday's Inquirer, Alfaro-Allah received the good news while she was in her poetry teacher's class at Science Leadership Academy. According to the 10th grader, "It's a huge honor for me, and I'm just really excited to be part of this revolution we have with art and youth." The new Youth Poet Laureate has been a member of her school's poetry club since 2012 and recently participated with the school's slam poetry team in the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement Slam League contest, which she helped her team win. Be sure to check out the article for an excerpt of one of the three poems Alfaro-Allah submitted as her application for Youth Poet Laureate.

Congratulations to Soledad Alfaro-Allah! We look forward to following your work this next year.