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An LA Writing Program Kickstarted Poet Amanda Gorman's Career. Her Mentor Reminisces

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman of Los Angeles speaks at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Amanda Gorman, the L.A. poet who recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joseph Biden’s inauguration today, spent part of her teen years at WriteGirl, a Los Angeles volunteer organization that helps girls hone writing skills, from poetry to journalism.

This morning, a group of current WriteGirl students, mentors, and alumnae this morning for a virtual watch party to see Gorman recite her poem on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Among the mentors was Michelle Chahine Sinno, who offered coaching and support to Gorman for two years.

Chahine Sinno was proud when she heard that Gorman would be reading at the inauguration—but not entirely surprised. She knew her mentee had ambitious goals, even as a teenager.

“Her dream when she was 16 or 17, was to become president,” Chahine Sinno said. “When I first saw this news, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, she got to that podium way earlier than she even thought she would’.”

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