Words are important to Foothill senior Frances Tang.
"Writing is important to convey ideas in a persuasive way," Tang said.
Tang, 18, was chosen in September as one of two teen poet laureates for the city of Pleasanton. The other honoree is Kyler Juarez of Amador Valley High School. Both students started their official duties in October and will serve for the remainder of this school year.
"I was really happy about it," Tang said of being chosen as teen poet laureate. "When I applied, I was really nervous. There were actually quite a few people who applied. We all interviewed together, so that was kind of nerve-racking."
Each teen poet laureate is asked to tackle one major literary project and assist whenever city officials ask for special help.
"If the city asks us to read a poem at say, the tree lighting or a park opening, we would read poetry for that or write a poem," Tang noted.
Tang's project is to produce a literary magazine for the city's three middle schools and host an open mic night in conjunction with the magazine's publication.
"I feel like the literary magazine gives incentive for people to write something because there’s a platform for them to be published," she said. "The open mic night is something that’s fun for them to present their poetry in front of peers."
The idea for the project grew out of Tang's experiences as a young writer.
"I started writing poetry in elementary school and that kind of died down in middle school and came back in high school," she said. "In middle school, there are not many outlets for something like that. This gives the kids who want to write poetry an incentive. I want to keep that alive."
Jaurez's project focuses on reading to senior citizens.
Tang has been involved with Foothill's Teens for Literacy club the entire time she's been in high school and is currently president of the group. She plans to use her creative writing skills in college and beyond.
"I’m majoring in communications," she said. "With that major, I hope to enter the marketing field. Poetry has been one of my favorite pastimes and as a hobby. I might pursue it in that way and after college."
Story by Zoe Francis
Photo courtesy of Frances Tang