Before poet Amanda Gorman became a standout star at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, last summer she spoke at the graduation ceremony for The Children's School in La Jolla inspiring the next generation of leaders, like Izzy Leone.
Leone lavished applause on Gorman as her 8th grade class watched the 22-year-old youth poet laureate recite her poem "The Hill We Climb" at President Biden’s inauguration.
Listening to the poem gave Leone a feeling of déjavú.
Just last summer she heard Gorman deliver a different poem during her school’s graduation ceremony.
"It gave me a very empowered feeling. It was a very hopeful feeling and it's the same feeling I got today when I heard her speak again," Leone said.
"The Hill We Climb" was inspired by leaders during times of division, like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It echoed the inauguration theme of America United and addressed the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.
“What she was reminding us today is that we're all strong together and that there is a bright future ahead," John Fowler, head of The Children’s School, said. "And that the more we work together the quicker we're going to get there. I found it very inspirational."
A writer herself, Leone, 14, was inspired by how Gorman’s poem tackled racial and social justice.
“We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice,” Gorman recited.
“She just inspires me to want to write more and want to raise awareness as she's doing,” said Leone.
America's youngest inaugural poet in history shined light and love during a time of deep division.