Senior Jaida Tavares is named CT’s first Youth Poet Laureate

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Hailey Almonte

Senior Jaida Tavares wins POL

Hailey Almonte, News Editor

After hard work and dedication, Jaida Taveras of Naugatuck High School has been chosen to be the first Youth Poet Laureate for Connecticut.

Youth Poet Laureate is a title held in the United States by a young person who exhibits skill in the arts, specifically in poetry or spoken-word. They also show strong qualities in leadership and are “active in civic discourse and advocacy,” (Wikipedia). Jaida Taveras proved that she fit these criteria with her beautiful and well thought out poems. Her passion and expression in these poems and in the way she presents them proved beyond doubt that she is worthy of the title “Youth Poet Laureate.”

Taveras explored and found her love for writing poetry towards the end of her eighth grade year. When discussing her journey through writing poetry, Tavares mentioned how the first poem she wrote was “very long” and was about how “we live our lifetimes.” She submitted her poem to a UConn competition but unfortunately lost.

She went into detail about how losing the competition was a learning experience for her. Taveras mentioned how the girl who won the competition wrote a poem about a topic that Taveras herself didn’t think was worthy of a winning spot, but after some thought, she realized that “art is different for everyone” and so she “can’t always expect somebody to like” what she writes.

Over time Taveras has found a method to writing her creative poems. “I always find myself writing little phrases or things that someone says that I find interesting, and then go from there.” By using this method, Jaida Taveras is able to expand on the phrase or word, and create a poem out of it.

Taveras has competed at a fair number of competitions based around poetry, and it all started her freshman year. 

In high school, Taveras participated in Poetry Out Loud, a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry. Poetry Out Loud allowed Taveras to express herself and advance her public speaking skills, which she used for her competitions. 

Recently, Taveras has been recognized for her immense talent in poetry, and her work began to gain recognition throughout the state of Connecticut. Taveras’s incredible ability to create and speak out her poetry has led the state to name her Youth Poet Laureate for Connecticut. 

Taveras shared that once someone becomes Youth Poet Laureate, they get invited to events or any big occasion involved with the state where poems would be read. In some instances, poems are written for the event and then read aloud.

“Being the new Youth Poet Laureate means a lot,” Taveras expressed. “…but somehow it also kind of feels undeserved because I didn’t really do anything to get it. It wasn’t a competition, I was just named by the state ‘Youth Poet Laureate.’” 

Despite feeling as though she didn’t deserve the title, it still meant a lot to Taveras. She acknowledged how people told her that the title meant that she was being recognized for her work, but to Taveras the title means that her “words mean something to someone.” 

Jaida Taveras is an incredibly talented poet who will continue to inspire others with her words. We as a school are proud of how far she has gone, and we will continue to follow her throughout her career.