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Passionate teen poet experiences many opportunities

Grace+Yoo+shares+her+talent+by+speaking+poetry+at+a+local+event.
Grace Yoo shares her talent by speaking poetry at a local event.

Grace Yoo shares her talent by speaking poetry at a local event.

Jay Yoo

Jay Yoo

Grace Yoo shares her talent by speaking poetry at a local event.

Emily Byrne, Staff

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Senior Grace Yoo is a speaker and poet in the community who has sought out a variety of opportunities and events to share her voice and make a difference.

Yoo’s eighth grade and senior English teacher, Kerry Rutigliano, has been included in some of these experiences and has watched her writing develop since the beginning.

“She has worked with me, I work for a non profit organization, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle, that works for at-risk kids in the Cleveland schools. She spoke at our fundraiser last year,” Rutigliano said.

Yoo said she relishes in the opportunities writing has given her. “I’ve spoken at schools, conventions, fundraisers, and much more and hope to continue my journey for as long as I live,” Yoo said.

Yoo’s ninth grade honors English teacher, Kari Beery, was one of the influences that watched Yoo encounter these opportunities and taught her about new writing experiences.

Beery has watched Yoo’s confidence flourish. “She’s really opened herself up to not only Open Mics, but Lake Erie Incs, and Brave New Voices, where she was exposed to doing things on her own,” Beery said.

A few of the other opportunities Yoo has had are highly recognized by Rutigliano. “She spoke to the staff at the opening day for Mayfield City Schools, she has spoken to at-risk kids at Mayfield and Shaker Heights high school, competed in poetry slams, was the voice of young people and spoke at the march against gun violence in Cleveland; she’s just done a lot of incredible and great work for the community,” Rutigliano said.

Rutigliano has her progress as a writer over the years. “I’ve been fortunate enough to keep in touch with Grace, as she’s a student again in my AP Lit class as a senior, and we’ve remained connected over the years,” Rutigliano said.

Yoo enjoys the feelings she can invoke into others through writing and speaking. “My favorite part of writing is how powerful it is and how my words can provide closure to those around me. I have fallen in love with the fact that I can make an impact on a group of people in a matter of five minutes,” Yoo said.

Yoo began writing at a young age. “My passion for writing began as a freshman in high school. I took an honors English course that included a poetry unit and from that point on, my writing blossomed. Ever since then I have been reinventing my voice every day,” Yoo said.

Beery says she recognizes the unique voice Yoo embodies as a writer. Beery said, “Grace is very passionate about whatever topic she’s writing about. She’s not only an artist, but an advocate for things. A lot of her writing is embedded in changing things, or helping others to make a change themselves.”

Rutigliano says she notices the gift Yoo has in terms of her writing voice. Rutigliano said, “Grace’s spirit is adventurous, courageous, bold, inquisitive, and that spirit is imbued in her writing, in her thought process. It is what naturally comes out in her writing and in her voice,”

Yoo says she has embraced the power that she has with her words. “Through my writing, I discovered that I have a physical voice of speech. I found power in speaking my truth to groups of people. Whether it be at an open mic, a slam poetry competition, or an event, they all have given me platforms to speak my mind and share with the world what I have to offer,” Yoo said.

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Passionate teen poet experiences many opportunities