The following is a press release from the Mendocino County Office of Education:
On February 1, Point Arena High School sophomore Sidney Regelbrugge begins her tenure as Mendocino County’s Youth Poet Laureate (YPL), having been selected from a competitive field of 12 students by distinguished local poets and teachers.
For those who have followed Regelbregge, this honor is no surprise. Regelbregge was the 2021 winner of Point Arena High School Poetry Out Loud recitation contest and the runner-up for Mendocino County. In the summer of 2021, she was the Mendocino Writer’s Conference High School Scholarship winner, where she won third place for her short story, Promises for Another Life, in the young adult category.
As youth poet laureate, Regelbregge will conduct at least five public appearances, such as readings or workshops – ideally one within each supervisorial district if COVID restrictions do not force events online. Her first virtual poetry reading to celebrate her appointment will be March 13 at 3:00 pm via Zoom with local poets laureate Melissa Eleftherion-Carr of Ukiah and Blake More of Point Arena. Visit tinyurl.com/YPLMarch2020 to register and receive a zoom link.
Along with the title, Regelbregge receives a $500 prize and an opportunity to publish a collection of her own poems or to spearhead a broader youth publication opportunity.
Regelbregge said, “I’ve spent my entire life stuck between the forest and the Pacific Ocean. I am a fifteen-year-old poet, who also exists in the world of music and mixed literature. I am an only child, who speaks her mind and at times when words are hard to say out loud. Written emotions on a page are my other communication. Poetry is the outsourcing of emotions when everything and everyone in the entire world feels like they are against you. Poetry is the expression of all emotions and feelings, it’s the feeling of love by a wood fire, it’s crying on the front porch watching your first love drive away. Poems are the outbursts of anger when no matter how much you scream no one hears you. To me, poetry is my heart and soul, the unjudged place where everyone is welcome. It gives voices to those who don’t have one themselves. Poetry is home. It’s always safe and has been my home for many years and one I hope to invite others too.
In addition to being a poet, Regelbregge plays concert piano and saxophone and is a multi-sport athlete.
Blake More, current Poet Laureate of Point Arena, longtime poet-teacher, and Mendocino County Area Coordinator with California Poets in the Schools (CalPoets) served as one of the judges on the youth poet laureate panel.
She highlighted Regelbregge’s statement: To me, poetry is my heart and soul, the unjudged place where everyone is welcome, and then said, “This statement from Sidney is one reason I’m so thrilled that she will be our youth poet laureate for Mendocino County. She is a remarkable young woman, and she sees poetry as a way to give voice to those who don’t have one themselves. One of her goals as YPL is to help youth and others in the community to discover the safety of poetry. It will be an honor to read with her and experience the joy and marvel of others as they witness and are inspired by her grounded intelligence and depth of expression.”
More encouraged school or community organizations interested in having Regelbregge make a public appearance at their venue to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More also praised the two other finalists in the youth poet laureate competition: Ukiah High School senior Nia Rich and Developing Virtue Girls School senior Amy Lui, both of whom “write with great skill and understanding,” she said.
The Mendocino County Youth Laureate Program is organized by California Poets in the Schools and supported by the Bill Graham Supporting Foundation, with additional support from the Arts Council of Mendocino County and Mendocino County Office of Education.
Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins said, “I want to thank and recognize Sidney for sharing her talents with us. Her participation as well as our other finalists represent excellence in our schools. Lifting youth voices through the written and spoken word is another example of the great work MCOE supports.”