The selection of Nick as Foothill's poet laureate may come as a surprise for students who better know their classmate as a star on the football field.
"I hang out with the tough guys at school," Nick admitted. "When they heard, they were shocked and laughed. I don't really come off as an insightful person."
It was exactly Nick's insight that drew the attention of Pleasanton's adult poet laureate, Deborah Grossman, and the civic arts selection committee.
"Nick has a very deep thinking approach to poetry," Grossman said. "He puts a lot of thought and emotion into each one of his poems. He also presents his poems very well."
This is the second year of the city's teen poet laureate program. Last year's Foothill poet laureate was Athena Lathos.
Nick, 17, has long enjoyed poetry, but it's a passion he has kept to himself until he heard about the high school poet laureate program. The commission chose one poet laureate from each of the city's two comprehensive high schools.
"It was one of the first times that I had ever really put my writing on display," Nick said of his decision to enter the poet laureate contest. "I needed to take a giant step forward. I wanted to get myself known other than just for football. I wanted to get myself known on an intelligence basis."
Nick, who plays middle linebacker and fullback for the Falcons team, noted that his father inspired Nick's admiration of the arts. Nick's father, who died of liver failure in May, graduated from an arts college and worked in several arts fields, including architecture and the culinary arts.
"The creative power of art still flows through me in the form of writing," Nick said. "My dad's legacy still lasts within me. It's my personal note to him."
In addition to grieving for his father, Nick overcame an torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) early in the 2008 football season to continue playing his favorite sport.
"I hope that by graduation that I can look back on everything that I've done and be proud of the mental and physical accomplishments that I've achieved through such diversities," Nick said.
Nick will represent Foothill and the city of Pleasanton for a full year as a teen poet laureate. He will work with Grossman to visit middle schools to spread the word about promoting useful, moral ideals though poetry and creative writing.
Nick admitted he was surprised to be chosen for such a high honor the first time he applied for a poetry contest.
"I was in quite a bit of shock when they told me," he said. "I was ecstatic."
Nick plans to get an advanced degree in chemistry and ultimately work in the field of applied chemistry, such as pharmaceutical engineering.
Congratulations to Nick for being chosen Foothill's poet laureate!
Posted Friday, Oct. 30, 2009