Adding Uniqueness to Ventura County

Unique Shehee becomes the first Ventura County Poet Laureate

Successful, young minorities are often seen in our community, and Oxnard High School sophomore Unique Shehee is a great example of such and truly lives up to her own name. After being considered from nine other applicants, she received the exciting news this past summer that she was chosen to be Ventura County’s very first Youth Poet Laureate.


“I think there’s something powerful about the first Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate being a girl, a black girl,” said Shehee. She wanted to apply for the position to do more positive things for the community and to have a platform to talk about important things.


Most of Shehee’s poetry covers topics from beauty standards to politics. “Through poetry, I find ways to reach people.” OHS senior Christine Jane Canonizado, a close friend and supporter of Shehee, said, “[…] her poetry speaks volume to any age group. She writes about her past, diversity, self-love, and many other topics that can really inspire and positively influence many people.”


Another strong supporter for Shehee is OHS librarian Mrs. Jennifer Brickey who first gave Shehee an outlet for her poetry through the second annual Poetry Slam. “She’s always had a passion for it, but I don’t think she’s ever had an opportunity for her to put it out there,” said Mrs. Brickey.


As a result, Shehee has received $500 prize money, which she plans to save, and the opportunity to publish her own poetry book. “Milk and Honey [and other poetry books] inspired me for designs for my book,” said Shehee. All proceeds for her book will go back to her once it is published.


One of Shehee’s plans during her one-year term is to go to different schools and talk about teenagers being able to have a positive outlet, such as writing or poetry. “I feel like the responsibility as a Poet Laureate is to spread that,” she said. Mrs. Brickey added, “[People] kind of push the teenage opinion aside which I think is damaging.” Because of this, Shehee intends to make sure their voices are heard.


Along with creating a more positive and accepting environment in Ventura County, Shehee hopes to impact the lives of many with her words and passion for poetry and set a great example for the future Youth Poet Laureates to come.