Amanda Gorman’s Poetry Inspires Students

Olivia Rhee, Staff Writer

Dressed in a bright, yellow blazer, with her long cornrow locks combed back with a vivid red crown headband stood a young Black girl at the podium, speaking before millions of Americans at the 2021 presidential inauguration. While she was introduced to most Americans for the first time, her intelligence, passion, strength, and glow left America in awe. Many Americans were moved by this powerful individual, and now all of America knows her name: Amanda Gorman. The 22-year-old poet laureate honored the transfer of power to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris through an empowering poem titled “The Hill We Climb” written by Gorman. With a sense of hope and resilience, Gorman reflected on the struggles the United States has endured through and advocated for change in order to implement peace and equality. Leaving an immense impact on millions of Americans, Gorman now stands as an inspiration figure for many members of the Miramonte community. 

“It’s really difficult to put into words the great democratic experiment this country is,” AP U.S. History teacher Jackson Avery said. Avery, like many, was “blown away” by Gorman’s speech. “We’ve existed as a colony and as a country for over four  centuries and the pain and the growth that has been experienced in that time is impossible to grasp. But if anyone came close to putting into words what the job of every American citizen is, to look at progress as a hill we climb together not by tearing each other down but by building each other up, she did it better than anyone I’ve seen before and it was truly something beautiful to behold.” 

As a woman of color, many believe that Gorman’s appearance at the inauguration emphasizes hope for the future of the United States. “Amanda Gorman’s appearance in the inauguration is an important step forward for our country not just for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), but also for the unity and acceptance overall. It’s really empowering to see someone from a marginalized group overcome so many obstacles to perform at such an important national event,” sophomore Mia Balonick said. 

Gorman not only addressed various societal and political issues facing the nation, such as her reference to the siege of the Capitol, but she also encouraged and taught her audience that change is necessary in order to implement a more equal and peaceful nation. “So many of our most definitive struggles have been internal, and that many of the people and movements we hold dear to our national story were incredibly unpopular at the time. The Civil Rights Movement being the obvious example, but also the struggle for the inclusion and representation of communities like our LGBTQIA + citizens. However with inclusion and representation comes the need for accountability and justice on behalf of the historic wrongs that were done to those communities, and that is not always an easy nor painless road to tread,” said Avery.

Less than a month after the inauguration, Gorman presented a moving and impressive speech titled “Chorus of the Captains,” to her audience, this time composed of football fans. Standing as the first person to ever recite a poem at the Super Bowl, Gorman continues to break barriers with her inspiring words which honored the three NFL chosen American captains – a teacher, a marine corps, and a frontline worker. In recognition of these three figures, Gorman highlights their heroic acts and bravery during these challenging times. 

In both speeches, Gorman has both inspired and taught students, especially those who are a part of the public speaking and debate team. “Gorman performed her poem beautifully, and hearing her voice made it even more intuitive and emotional. Gorman’s language and use of imagery is outstanding. Gorman’s poem fills me with so much hope for our country,” junior and public speaking student Lily Wood said. Students learn from Gorman’s words as well as her ability to captivate the audience. Senior Sarah Svahn, who is also a  public speaking and debate student, recognizes how Gorman’s unique and impactful delivery adds to the weight of her speech. “I thought that her ability to speak with a purpose was what made her performance so great. The overwhelmingly positive reception and celebration of Gorman’s speech across the nation shows the immense impact that powerful delivery skills can have on an audience,” Svahn said. 

In five minutes, Gorman taught Americans about the past, present, and future of this nation. Gorman not only grasped the attention of her masked audience but also the rest of America. As Gorman celebrates the new presidency of President Biden, she reminds America in her closing statement “For there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.”