‘Everyone has a story to tell’

Growing up in North Philadelphia, Andre’a Rhoads dreamed of one day becoming a writer.

At 17, Rhoads now realizes that is exactly what she is. Philadelphia City and Free Library officials will announce Thursday that she is the 2021-2022 Philadelphia Young Poet Laureate, chosen from a competitive pool of applicants.

“Everyone has a story to tell, something to tell,” said Rhoads, a rising elder at Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls. “Everyone is going through something. “

Rhoads became addicted to poetry when she was an elementary student at Gesu School in North Philadelphia. The words of Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou spoke to her, and she found expressing her voice through poetry felt natural to her.

As the Young Poet Laureate, Rhoads will be tasked with using his poetry to reach his peers across town. She loves the idea of ​​poetic slams and also plans to produce a short video encouraging Philadelphians to fight gun violence.

“I want to bring the voices together,” she said.

Trapeta B. Mayson, the city’s 2020-21 poet laureate, called Rhoads’ voice “authentic and powerful.”

“Young writers need creative opportunities to help them grow and shine. The Young Poet Laureate position is essential as it provides recognition while uplifting young voices, ”Mayson said in a statement.

“Andre’a channels a unique and passionate perspective through her poetry,” said Yolanda Wisher, another former city poet laureate and member of the committee that selected Rhoads. “The Youth Poet Laureate program is supported by emerging writers like her who want to use their voices to embody and implement change in our city. “

The good news of his honor was welcome after a difficult year weathering the pandemic, Rhoads said.

She hasn’t set foot in a classroom since midway through her second year. Little Flower offered face-to-face classes during her junior year, but Rhoads’ family worried about the health consequences and therefore chose to continue learning remotely.

“It was difficult trying to learn this way because the teachers couldn’t help you as much,” Rhoads said. “It was difficult to take tests and participate. “

Still, Rhoads managed to make a place for himself on the honor roll. She focused on colleges this summer, with a goal of studying creative writing and film studies, possibly at the University of Southern California, though she is also thinking of the University of Pennsylvania. , Villanova University or Pennsylvania State University.

“I want to do a lot of things – to be a screenwriter, writer and director,” said Rhoads, who lives with his mother, father, brother and nephew and plays basketball, sings in choirs and is active in his career. religious community. .

She looks forward to the year ahead, Rhoads said.

“I just hope I can motivate and lead, show that it can happen to anyone if they work hard enough for it,” she said.

Rhoads succeeds Abington Friends student Cydney Brown.

Do you have a change?

Bring out

Don’t stay there

Playing the poor man’s game

Change jingles in your pocket

Like dangling chains

Stuck in my ear, hurting my soul

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