Teenagers from Pleasanton's two high schools added a bit of youthful culture to last week's City Council meeting.
Kyler Juarez, a junior at Amador Valley High School and Frances Tang, a senior at Foothill High, were named the city's teen poet laureates for the 2015-16 school year. In their new posts, they will provide appropriate poetry at upcoming civic events and promote the appreciation of the literary arts in the community.
The program aims to promote writing among today's youth and to help them develop and foster an appreciation for composing, reading, reciting and listening to poetry. They are also asked to help coordinate casual poetry readings and gatherings on their school campuses and can organize their own poetry events as official city teen poet laureates. They will serve with no remuneration for their services, although the Community Services Department has $2,000 allocated in its budget to pay any expenses incurred.
Juarez, who holds a silver award in the Girl Scouts, has played soccer in the RAGE girls league for the last 10 years, leaving the game this year to handle the increased classroom workload in AP Psychology. Tang, a member of the Foothill marching band for four years, also has participated in the city's "Open Mike" programs.
The teen poet laureate position was created in 2008 after the city established the position of official poet laureate in 1998, with eight individuals appointed to that position over the years. Sandra Harrison Kay's term as the most recent poet laureate expired last May and no successor has yet been named.
At Tuesday's council meeting where speakers usually talk about traffic, zoning and even crowded schools, council members and those in the chamber sat back and listened with enjoyment to poems written for the occasion by the new teen poet laureates.
"Lemonade," by Frances Tang
As time has passed,
habits come and gone,
you have never ceased to love
I've never been a fan of the overly sour
yet extremely sweet taste,
quite like how I've never been the biggest fan of your overly stoic
yet energetic ways.
But I never pass a lemonade stand without stopping
Because I will never forget
the sunny afternoons at the corner,
just you and I.
And even when we are apart
I will continue to stop
Because the way you love lemonade
is how I will always love you.
"The Virtue of Innocence," by Kyler Juarez
Life seemed so simple
When we hung by our knees
Dangling by a thin line above the concrete
When naps were thoughtful
And a cold sandwich was bliss
When garlands of flowers,
With Petals soft and stained,
Tumbled from our heads;
Our hair a disarray
When fun was found amongst the grass,
An ever changing battle of siege and attack
When we rarely thought of the future
Or a life away from play
When reaching the tallest branch was our goal for the day
When work was little
And worries small
When we'd bet all we had for a wad of partly chewed gum
When we pretended to be grown
And couldn't wait to be free,
For we felt trapped behind the jungle bars,
Confined to the end of the street
We paraded in our mother's clothes,
Tried on our father's shoes,
Praying to grow an inch or even two
Little did we know,
That the sun would one day set,
That life wouldn't always be simple
And we'd always regret,
That those days we spent yearning
For the seriousness of routine
Would haunt us forever in cherished memories.