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In the latest Around Town column, news about the winners and honorable mentions in this year’s Palo Alto Students Foundation Poetry Contest and a Gunn High student’s appointment to the Santa Clara County Youth Task Force.

POETIC PROWESS … More than two-dozen local students were recognized in this year’s Palo Alto Students Foundation Poetry Contest. The competition gave participants a chance to write about any topic and in any style, as long as their submission was an original piece and met the 300-word limit.

Yunhan Luo, a fourth grader at Palo Verde Elementary School, took first place in the preschool through sixth grade category for his poem titled “Best Friend.” Sixth graders Adrienne Lec of the JLS Connections Program and Saria Lum of Harker Middle School, won second place for their poems, “Figment” and “The Day We Turn Hatred Into Hope,” respectively. Fourth place was shared by Milly Anscomb, Emilie Kuo and Max Peterson. Nine students received honorable mentions in the category.

Palo Alto High students all placed in the seventh through 12th grade division. Junior Allyson Lee took first place for the poem “Carry On, They Say.” Coming in second was fellow junior Mars Bau for “Middle-Pack Runner.” Third place was a tie between junior Claire Quin and sophomore Miles Gardner for their pieces, “Distantly Intertwined” and “A Hospital Parking Lot,” respectively. Fifth-place awards were given to senior William Rumelhart and junior Claire Qin. Six other students were recognized with honorable mentions in the category.

The foundation initially planned to unveil the winners on April 25, but pushed back the announcement to May 8 for the judges to review the high volume of entries and make a final decision. For the full winners list, visit

YOUTH VOICES MATTER … Gunn High junior Katie Rueff is part of the 15-member Santa Clara County Youth Task Force, an advisory body of high school students to the county Board of Supervisors.

The Palo Alto resident’s long resume of community work, which mostly revolves around environmental issues, will certainly be beneficial to the group. She was a member of Rep. Anna Eshoo’s Student Advisory Board and worked with the Palo Alto City Council to pass a resolution in support of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, according to a Tuesday, May 3, press release from the office of Supervisor Joe Simitian, who appointed Rueff to the task force.

“We all benefit when young people participate in local government and have their voices heard,” Simitian said in the release.

Rueff’s resume also includes internships at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and 350 Silicon Valley and serving as president of the Best Buddies Club and Gunn’s Green Team.

“Overall, through my service with these organizations, I have not only gained a thorough breadth of experience working in policy and serving as a leader in my community, but I have also honed my cooperation, responsibility, and time management skills,” Rueff said in the release.

This article was originally published by Palo Alto Online.

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