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MHS Senior Named New York State Youth Poet Laureate

Pittsford Mendon High School Senior OlaRose Ndubuisi has been named the 2024 New York State Youth Poet Laureate by Urban Word and Teachers & Writers Collaborative in collaboration with Girls Write Now.

Ndubuisi was selected out of 75 applicants by a panel of former Poet Laureates for her body of poetry about scoliosis and her curriculum vitae, including the level of community engagement and activism.

The NYS Youth Poet Laureate Program recognizes young writers and leaders committed to creating change through civic engagement and poetic excellence.

Along with the official title and a cash prize, the NYS Youth Poet Laureate gets both high-level poetry performances and learning opportunities for poetry and activism, as well as the chance to apply to be the National Youth Poet Laureate every year until they turn 19. Ndubuisi joins a community of fellow talented young poets, including Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate (2017), who read her poetry at the 2021 Presidential inauguration.

As the NYS Youth Poet Laureate, Ndubuisi hopes to raise awareness for scoliosis and the invisible struggles that the youth face. She also hopes to encourage the use of creative outlets like writing, art, and music to cope with pain and emotion.

Of Ndubuisi's work, NYS Poet Laureate Patricia Spears Jones said, "Young people around the world are physically under threat. To write about dealing with pain and coming to terms with it is extremely important and incredibly difficult."

On accepting her award, Ndubuisi gave a speech and recited her poem "Scoliosis is a Curved Path to Heaven," which can be seen here: