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Inspirational upperclassmen at Garfield.

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Lily Baumgart:

While many high school seniors are spend- ing hours writing and rewriting their personal statements, fellow senior Lily Baumgart is spending her

time getting ready for her book release this May. She has been writing since she was a young kid, starting o with short stories. As Baumgart grew older, she began to experiment with other forms of writing such as poetry.

the background and Matt Gano who was one of the writing mentors was like “Lily Baumgart” and my initial reaction was just to scream for no reason,” Baumgart said.

Sophomore year of high school, Baumgart applied to become Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate through Seattle Arts and Lectures. “I was on the finalists cohort last year which is super fun because you get to do a bunch of work- shops together,” Baumgart said.

She applied again this year and once again made it to the finalist cohort. Soon it was time for the reveal as to who the new Youth Poet Laureate would be. “We were waiting and there was a drumroll happening in

“It was definitely a moment of complete awe and shock.”

Being Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate has opened up many opportunities for Baumgart.“It definitely means I get taken a lot more seriously as a writer which is always incredible. It’s a shame that youth writers are just seen as angsty poets,” Baumgart said.

The biggest opportunity that comes with being selected the Youth Poet Laureate is a book deal with Penmanship books.

“I’ll have a book out next May, a collection of my poetry, which is very nerve wracking because it’s gonna be out there and I can’t edit it or write it again,” Baumgart said.

For those of you interested in poetry, keep an eye out for Baumgart’s book release this May.

 

Shania Williams:

Would you dedicate your summer to picking up cellphones, candy wrappers and beer bottles out of the ocean? Garfield junior Shania Williams spent her

summer picking up trash and practicing environmental justice through a program called Unleash the Brilliance.

Unleash the Brilliance is a youth empowerment pro- gram that partners with environmental justice agencies in Seattle to provide youth with access to activities that are equally enjoyable and educational.

“The program tries to keep kids in school so they won’t drop out [so] they graduate and go to college,” Williams said.

Two of the main activities of the program were cleaning up parks and cleaning up the Puget Sound. After the Fourth of July, Williams and other program members returned to Gasworks park and spent the day cleaning the park and restoring it to its healthy state

“I used to think I didn’t have to pick up trash because I didn’t spill it but now I’ve started picking up trash because I’m just trying to help the environment stay clean. It changed my perspective,” Williams said.

The program didn’t just change the way Williams thought about the environment, it also impacted her ability to open up to people and make connections. “I learned not to be scared to try new things and to come out of my shell,” Williams said.

Williams actions are the start to unleashing the youth lead movements necessary to create momentum for change.

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