Crozet Celebrates Inaugural Teen Poet Laureate Award


Credit: Kelly Burnette

Teen Poet Laureate Sadie Adams (left),with fellow poets Lillian Davis, Cal Hughes, Rachael Pond, Zoe Farris, and Cal Dagner (left to right).

Martha Thompson, Staff Writer

This year, in partnership with Western’s creative writing program, Crozet’s local library created a Teen Poet Laureate program to celebrate local youth poets. The title of Teen Poet Laureate was awarded to one student who demonstrated their artistic ability and skill in three submitted poems. 

Ultimately, the results of this contest landed close to home, as Western sophomore Sadie Adams beat out six other local teens, many of whom also attend Western, to win the crown of teen poet laureate. 

Furthermore, Western creative writing teacher Kelly Burnette was integral to developing the award.

Ms. Burnette’s class sparked the idea of Crozet Teen Poet Laureate when they watched a news story on a 16-year-old Poet Laureate in Philadelphia.

 Inspired to implement the same program in our community, Burnette and her students reached out to the local library, ultimately partnering with Jess Moore, Crozet’s teen librarian. Together, they created an application and opened it up to anyone in the JMRL district. Although the Teen Poet Laureate is in its first year, Burnette’s love and appreciation for the art has been a constant in her life. Even though she’s certified to be an English teacher, she found the freedom of creative writing more appealing.

“I try to give them as much room to be creative and create inspiring prompts, with less restriction  and more independence. Basically, write what they desire and support their style of writing.”

Adams says her passion for poetry began when she enrolled in the creative writing class last year and was inspired by Burnette’s admiration for poetry. Adams mentions that her biggest source of inspiration is music and her fellow poets. 

When Adams was asked about the impact of poetry on the world, she explained, “I believe poetry’s way of making a difference in the world is by allowing people to have a way  they can express themselves. It’s relatable, and everyone has a story to share.” 

For now, Adams utilizes her platform as a teen poet laureate to actively engage with the Charlottesville community. While her future plans involve pursuing writing in college, she currently participates in Crozet Libraries’ events and poetry meetings, sharing her talent and creativity with the  local community.

 In her final words of advice, Adams favors the importance of authenticity. She encourages aspiring writers to stay true to themselves, embrace their own style, and resist changing their writing style to conform to someone else’s preferences. 

“People say to write what you know, but I like to write about things I’ve never experienced! There are more ideas to draw from when you can expand beyond your own experiences.”